|Pilot 2nd Lt. Dean F. Burnett, O--727399 (MIA / KIA) CA
MIA November 26, 1942
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Assigned to Project "X" on December 22, 1941.
Disassembled and shipped to overseas bound for the Philippines, but instead diverted to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.
On November 26, 1942 one of fifteen P-40s that took off from 3-Mile Drome near Port Moresby on a mission to dive bomb and strafe Buna New Strip (New Strip) at Buna. Over the target, this P-40 was hit by anti-aircraft fire and crashed. It is unclear if this aircraft crashed near Buna Airfield or Buna village or into the bay off Buna. His body was never recovered.
Burnett was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dean F. Burnett
FindAGrave - 2Lt Dean F Burnett
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - P-40 Kittyhawk piloted by Burnett states crashed near Buna Airfield
Weekly Status and Operations Report (Form 34) November 22, 1942 - November 28, 1942
"11/26 7:10am mission I-1 dive bomb & strafe new strip at Buna (2) one plane was seen diving into ocean 12 to 15 a/a seen."
49th Fighter Group History, frame 400
Protect & Avenge pages 93-94
"The rookie pilot [Burnett] never made it through the murderous flak corridor over his target and his Warhawk exploded in a ball of fire when it slammed down on the shore north of the enemy held [Buna] village. The blast scattered the debris into the bay and Burnett's remains were forever lost."
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis
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May 22, 2017