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  P-40F-15-CU Warhawk Serial Number 41-19838  
USAAF
13th AF
18th FG
70th FS

Pilot  1st Lt. Ralph J. Sooter, O-727569 (MIA / KIA) Sedgwick County, KS
MIA  June 5, 1943 at 3:00pm
MACR  606

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 18th Fighter Group, 70th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost engine V-1650-1 serial number 41-48?56. Weapon serial numbers not noted in MACR.

Mission History
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.

Search
Captain Bade made one search circle then departed the area.

Memorials
Sooter was officially declared dead the day of the mission. Memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.

References
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Ralph J. Sooter
FindAGrave - 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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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-40

MIA
MIA
1 Missing

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