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  P-40N-30-CU Warhawk Serial Number 44-7305  
USAAF
3rd AF
3rd FC
342nd AAFBU

Pilot  2nd Lt. Roy C. Rom, O-627515 (died, BR)
Crashed  March 24, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by Curtiss in Buffalo, New York completed May 30, 1944. Delivered to the U. S. Army. When lost, this P-40 had a total of 989.2 hours of flight time.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 3rd Air Force, 3rd Fighter Command, 342nd Army Air Force Base Unit (342nd AAFBU). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On March 24, 1945 one of four P-40 Warhawks that took of from Perry Field (Perry Army Air Field) at 10:15am piloted by Goodyear on a local training flight to practice low level formation flying. Weather was high overcast over 10,000' with unrestricted visibility and winds east 5 miles per hour.

The formation included the first element no. 1 flight leader F/O Southoott, no. 2 P-40N Warhawk 43-124362 piloted by F/O Goodyear and second element no. 3 F/O Bajkowski and no. 4 element (this aircraft) P-40N Warhawk 44-7405 piloted by Lt. Rom. Flying up the Suwannee River, the formation made turns, including a sharp left turn to the left. This aircraft was flying in the no. 2 position on the flight leader's right wing in the four plane formation.

While flying in formation, this aircraft collided with P-40N Warhawk 43-124362. Damaged, Rom bailed out and suffer major injuries. Both P-40 before both crashed into a swamp roughly a half mile apart.

Wreckage
This aircraft crashed into a swamp roughly 18 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico near the Suwannee River.

Recovery of Remains
After the crash, the remains of the pilot were recovered by the U. S. Army.

Memorials
Rom was officially declared dead the day of the mission. His burial is unknown, presumed to be in his hometown in the United States.

Salvage
During 1986, Mr. Hal Thompson led the recovery of both P-40s from the swamp, removing every part over the course of two years. Plus, the wreckage of P-40N Warhawk 43-24033 crashed on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Restoration
Afterwards, the wreckage was displayed on a trailer at airshows, including the Sun 'n Fun Airshow during 1991 and 1992. Later, the wreckage was sold to Mr. Jerry Bensinger of Ohio. Next, owned by Healey Werks in Iowa.

During 2011, the wreckage of this aircraft was purchased by the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum. Using the recovered parts of these three P-40s, a single aircraft is being restored by volunteers led by Mr. Art Wilder for display at the museum. The finished aircraft is estimated to have 25% original parts.

References
Army Air Forces Report of Major Accident - 3/24/45 - 43-24362 / 44-7405
Warbirds Magazine "Resurrecting A Warhawk" by Peter Moll February 10, 2012
Glenn H. Curtiss Museum P-40 Project by Glenn H. Curtiss Museum
Thanks to the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum for additional information

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Last Updated
January 5, 2018

 

Tech Info
P-40

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