|Pilot 1st Lt. Ralph J. Sooter, O-727569 (MIA / KIA) Sedgwick County, KS
MIA June 5, 1943 at 3:00pm
MACR 606 / 611
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 70th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. This aircraft was assigned to the 44th Fighter Squadron Detachment (44th FS Detachment) operating from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal. When lost engine V-1650-1 serial number 41-48?56. Weapon serial numbers not noted in Missing Air Crew Report 606 (MACR 606).
Took off from Fighter 2 (Kukum) on Guadalcanal on a fighter sweep led by Captain Jack A. Bade over Kahilli Airfield on Bougainville prior to a bomb mission by SBD Dauntless. Weather was good and clear.
Over the target at 22,000', intercepted by a pair of Zeros that hit this P-40 during their first firing pass, causing it to smoke. Captain Jack A. Bade radioed Sooter to dive, but he did not respond, continued to glide with a Zero on its tail. Captain Bade fired on the trailing Zero, but was hit himself, and never saw Sooter again. Last see near Shortlands. When this aircraft failed to return, it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Captain Bade made one search circle then departed the area.
Sooter was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 606 (MACR 606) pilot Sooter created September 11, 1943
Missing Air Crew Report 611 (MACR 611) pilot Johnson was created created September 11, 1943 (with map circa June 1943 indicating the approximate loss locations of 1. Morrissey, 2. Johnson, 3. Sooter and 4. Carter)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC)
- Ralph J. Sooter
1Lt Ralph J Sooter (photo)
Vampire Squadron: The Saga of the 44th Fighter Squadron page 33
13th Fighter Command in World War II page 170
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March 19, 2018