|Pilot 2nd Lt. Dale F. Arnold, O-814629 (MIA / KIA) OH
Crashed April 7, 1944 at 8:20am
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 49th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. When lost, engine Allison V-1710-81 serial number 43-10243. Armed with .50 caliber machine guns manufactured by Savage Arms, serial numbers 87455, 874548, 874413, 874541, 398926 and 874378. Also aboard was flare pistol E-133440.
On April 7, 1944 took off from Gusap Airfield at 6:45am on a strike mission to strafe targets of opportunity in the Wewak area. The weather was scattered cumulus clouds over the shore with ceiling and visibility unlimited (CAVU) over the sea.
Over the target at 7:30am the formation included White Flight and Red Flight led by Captain Aschenbrener with this P-40 piloted by Arnold flying as his wingman. The P-40s circled over the island just off Wewak (likely Raboin Island) and started back to base along the north coast of New Guinea off Wewak and Cape Moem. Approaching Cape Moem, Captain Aschenbrener spotted a barge and flew to investigate it with Arnold flying with him.
At this same moment, This P-40 was observed to crash into the sea roughly 100 yards northeast of Cape Moem. Another source places the loss as approximately one mile offshore from Moem Point. The crash was observed by P-40N piloted by 1st Lt. LaNore and P-40 piloted by 1st Lt. Howard. Believed to have crashed by flying too low and hit the sea.
1st Lt. Wayne B. Howard recalls in MACR 4341 page 8:
"I saw spray come from his plane. It appeared that he had either hit the water and caused the spray or that his coolant had boiled over. He immediately turned out to sea, and because of his low altitude, went down about 150 yards off Cape Moem. I turned and flew over the oil-slick and saw him swimming out to sea. I could not tell if he had his rubber boat, but he apparently had his life vest, as I could see the orange color. I then flew over Cape Moem to see if anybody was going to attempt to come out to capture him. After looking the cape [Moem] over, I returned to the oil-slick and could not see him. The flight circled until relief came but he was never seen again."
When this aircraft failed to return it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA).
Arnold was officially declared dead on April 8, 1945. He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery.
Missing Air Crew Report 4341 (MACR 4341)
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Dale F. Arnold
2Lt Dale F Arnold (tablets of the missing)
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January 5, 2018