Floyd Finberg, O-427711 (survived) Duluth, MN
Ditched November 17,
Finberg served with the squadron for six months prior at Darwin, then was transferred to Port Moresby. He earned an Air Medal for 25 combat missions, Distinguished Flying Cross for flying 75 missions and Oak Leaf Cluster for shooting down a Zero on March 28, 1943. During July 1943 had a leave at home in Duluth. Promoted to Captain and flew a second tour of duty with the 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group and 74th Fighter Squadron. He claimed one plane shot down on December 27, 1944.
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Curtiss-Wright line number 606. Originally assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number ET145. Instead, delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group,
9th Fighter Squadron on February 21, 1942. No known nickname or nose art.
On November 17,
1942 took off from Port Moresby to escort RAAF Beaufighters to Zaka, Morobe Province.
Although the outbound escort had no problem, on the return the formation met bad weather. Two of the aircraft (Lt F. Finberg and P-40E 41-36166 piloted by
Haning) overshot Port
Moresby and ran low on fuel.
Finberg ditched off Gaire roughly twenty miles southeast of Port Moresby. Assisted by the villagers who treated him like a king. After being fed and spending a night in the chief's hut, he he was taken in an outrigger back to Port Moresby the next morning and returned to duty. Afterwards, his aircraft loss was deemed 50% personnel error and 50% material error.
The place where this plane crashed is known as "palaimisini" which means plane in Motu. During the 1990s, the aluminum was removed from this aircraft.
Thanks to Craig Busby, ADF Serials, Alvin Grady and Bruce
Hoy for additional information.
"Combat Airman Home: Natives Treat Him 'Like King'; He Drops Jap Zero" Duluth Herald, July 21, 1943
Another source incorrectly states Finberg bailed out over the ocean roughly 60 miles from Hula
/ Hood Point due to fuel exhaustion.
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August 3, 2018