|Pilot 2nd Lt. Frank H. Beeson (MIA / KIA, BR) Tuscaloosa, AL
Crashed July 25, 1942
Built by Bell in Buffalo, New York. Assigned Royal Air Force (RAF) serial number unknown and painted in a three-color camouflage scheme. Instead, delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 35th Fighter Group, 40th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname.
On July 25, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby armed with a 300 pound bomb on a mission to dive bomb Wairopi bridge near Kokoda. This Airacobra failed to return and Beeson was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).
On April 3, 1943 burned wreckage of Beeson's Airacobra was located near Buna with a 300 pound bomb under the wreckage. Beeson's body was found nearby by natives and reported to Allied forces who recovered his remains. His partially empty revolver was found beside his body.
Beeson was officially declared dead the day of the mission. After his remains were recovered, he was buried in New Guinea. Postwar, his remains were transported to Hawaii for permanent burial at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) at plot A, site 157.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Frank H. Beeson
The Anniston Star "MacArthur Honors Alabama Airmen" August 27, 1942 page 1
The Anniston Star "5 Alabama Soldiers Killed In Action" June 17, 1943 page 2
The Pittsburgh Press "Dying Aviator Fights Japs in Guinea Jungle" by George Weller May 18, 1943
Joe Baugher "Airacobra I for RAF, P-400"
FindAGrave - Lieut Frank H Beeson (grave photo)
40th Fighter / Flight Test Squadron Associate "WWII Honor Roll" via Wayback Machine July 23, 2008
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information
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January 5, 2018