|Pilot 1st Lt. Lawrence N. Succop, O-727575 (MIA / KIA) TX
MIA October 17, 1943
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Manufacture Serial Number (MSN) 28753. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Foce, 49th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Squadron "Screamin' Demons". No known nickname or nose art. The serial number was painted on the tail in yellow numbers. The number '25' was painted in white at the tip of the nose. The forward half of the spinner was painted blue.
On October 17, 1943 one of three P-40N Warkhawks from the 7th Fighter Squadron that took off from Dobodura at 10:00am on a mission intercept incoming Japanese A6M Zero fighters. Lt. Bob DeHaven was several minutes behind Flight Leader Succop and wingman Lt. David Germain and was unable to catch up with them. Succop and Germain attempted to join P-38 Lightings from the 475th FG but even with their new P-40N-models they could not catch the rapidly climbing twin-engined Lightnings.
As Succop and Germain climbed through the clouds they were attacked from behind by a flight of Japanese Zeros at 15,000 feet just off shore of Buna. Germain escaped but Succop disappeared near Cape Ward Hunt.
When he failed to return he was officially declared Missin In Action (MIA). Also lost are P-38H 42-66561 (MIA), P-38H 42-66743 (MIA), P-38H 42-66836 (rescued), P-38H "We Dood It" 42-66908 (survived).
Afterwards, a flight of P-40s from the 7th Fighter Squadron searched for Succop without success.
Succop was officially declared dead the day of the mission. He is memorialized on the Tablets of the Missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Other sources list the location of this loss as over Oro Bay
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Lawrence N. Succop
1Lt Lawrence N Succop (Tablets of the Missing)
Target Rabaul by Bruce Gamble page 151
Protect and Avenge: The 49th Fighter Group in World War II pages 112-13, 143 and 202-204
Page 204: ""In the debriefing following the successful interception Screamin' Demon CO Melikian was stunned to learn that Mission Leader Succop could not be accounted for. A search flight was hastily sent off to scan the coast, but nothing was ever found. Melikian assured the two wingmen that no blame was directed toward them, but both Germain and DeHaven dwelled on the loss of their flight leader for several days."
Pacific Sweep: The 5th and 13th Fighter Commands in World War II by William N. Hess - page 107
"14 May 1943 - Lieutenant Lawrence N. Succop was an element leader in one P-40 flight of the 7th Squadron. Succop took his element in to attack the bombers, gave one a burst, and pulled up over the formation. One bomber left the formation, so Succop closed in on its tail and opened fire. Apparently the tail gunner was killed, as his fire was not returned. Another burst knocked parts off the tail, and as Succop’s slugs hit forward to the aircraft’s left engine, it burst into flames. Succop nearly overran the aircraft and was forced to break violently to keep from hitting the bomber. Just as he broke underneath the enemy aircraft, it exploded, completely enveloping the P-40 in oil. Using his wingman as a guide, Succop returned to base."
The Wellsboro Gazette "Succop-Archer" August 19, 1942 page 1
"Miss Anne Archer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gray Archer, of Phoenix, Arizona, andt Lieut. Lawrence N. Succop, son of Mr. and Mrs, C. F. Succop, of Oakmont and Wellsboro, were married Aug 2, in Trinity Cathedral in Phoenix by the Dean, the Very Rev. Edwin Seldom Lane.
Mr. and Mrs. William G. Succop of Houston, Texas, brother and sister-in-Iaw of the bridegroom, were attendants at the wedding and the ushers were Lieutenants H. E. Matson and John D. Lessing. Lt. Matson is a former resident of Wellsboro, the son of Mr, and Mrs Jesse R. Matson.
The bride in a graduate of Phoenix Junior College and attended the University of North Carolina. Lt. Succop attended Shady Side Academy, Yale University and Carnegie Tech, before entering the Army Air Corps as an engineer. Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Succop attended the wedding and the reception following the ceremony and were present on July 26 at Luke Field when Lt. Succop received his commission."
Arizona Republic "Honors" April 11, 1943 page 6
"First Lt. Lawrence N. Succop, graduate of Luke Field, July. 1942, husband of Mrs. Anne Archer Succop of West Baseline road, has been awarded the air medal for meritorious achievement by Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, allied air forces commander in the South-west Pacific. He went on more than 25 missions in the New Guinea area from November 24 to December 31 and took part in patrol and interception missions against Jap bomber and fighter formations."
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette "Oakmont Pilot Downs First Jap" May 18, 1943 page 28
"Lieutenant Larry N. Succop, son of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence F. Succop, of Hulton road, Oakmont, was credited with shooting down his first enemy plane during a Japanese daylight assault on the Allied base at Oro Bay. Flying a Kittyhawk (P-40), Lieutenant Succop destroyed one of the seven bombers and nine Zeros reported shot down, in General Douglas MacArthur's communique of May 15. Another fighter and five bombers were listed as "probably destroyed."
Arizona Republic "Phoenician's Husband Killed" November 30, 1943 page 3
"Mr. and Mrs. Gray Archer, West Baseline road, have received word from their daughter, Mrs. Lawrence N. Succop, that her husband, First Lieutenant Succop, was killed in action over Oro bay New Guinea, October 17. He had been on active duty as a fighter pilot in the New Guinea area since November, 1942.
He received his wings at Luke Field July 26, 1942. Lieutenant Succop was mairied to the former Anne Archer at Trinity Cathedral here August 2, 1942. Mrs. Succop is visiting her husband's parents, Mr. and Mrs. C. F. Succop, Pittsburgh, Pa."
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional research and analysis
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May 22, 2017