|Pilot 2nd Lt Devin H. Gilchrist, O-737063 (MIA / KIA) OH
Crashed December 26, 1943 at 3:00pm
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in
Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 391. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 8th Fighter Group, 36th Fighter Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. When lost engine R-2800-21 serial number unknown.
On December 26, 1943 took off from Nadzab Airfield (No 1 Runway) piloted by Gilchrist as part of the fighter cover over Cape Gloucester. Over the target, a number of Japanese fighters intercepted. As the formation made a 180 degree turn, this aircraft was seen descending with a couple of puffs of black smoke coming from the exhaust as the engine apparently cut out.
The pilot bailed out, and was last seen swimming in the water with his Mae West inflated, about four miles northwest of Silimati Point, the east of Cape Gloucester and west of Borgen Bay.
An assault boat was seen heading for him when last sighted. Another P-47, flown by Lt Heckerman was also lost one and a half miles north of Silimati Point around 3:20pm.
Thanks to Kenneth D. Wilson for constructor number
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February 4, 2018