|Missing In Action (MIA)||Prisoners Of War (POW)||Unexploded Ordnance (UXO)|
|Chronology||Locations||Aircraft||Ships||Submit Info||How You Can Help||Donate|
8th Service Group
301st Airdrome Squadron
FEAF - CRTC
|Pilot Captain Francis J. Lent, O-740474 (MIA / KIA) Melrose, MN
Crashed December 1, 1944 at 2:44pm
Lent was officially credited with 12 aerial victories (his wartime record states 11 victories and 1 probable). His first victory was on August 18, 1943 claiming a "Hamp" (sic, Ki-43 Oscar) shot down over Wewak. On October 15, 1943 he intercepted enemy dive bombers and fighters attacking Oro Bay and claimed three: two Zekes and a Val dive bomber. Next, on October 24, 1943 he claimed a "Tony" over Rabaul then on November 2, 1943 claimed a Zero and a Zero probable over Rabaul. On December 16, 1943 claimed a Betty. Finally, on March 31, 1944 he claimed two Zekes shot down 30 miles south of Hollandia.
On July 17, 1944, Lent was promoted to the rank of Captain and was scheduled to returning to his hometown of Melrose, Minnesota for leave and to marry his fiance', Miss Delores Herges. Lent earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Silver Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters.
TSgt Albert Lamper, on duty at Ripple Tower at Lae Airfield observed this aircraft to the southwest, with wheels down and did not appear to be in distress. Next, observed to make a short left approach for a northwest from roughly 1,000' to land against air traffic, while a C-47 coming in from the southwest for a landing. No radio contact was established and this aircraft was given a red light on final approach.
Afterwards, Lamper observed this aircraft apparently stalled and crash into Huon Gulf roughly 200 yards off the end of the runway at Lae Airfield, quickly sinking in a few seconds. It is believed that the aircraft suffered engine failure, and after ditching radiator filled with water, causing it to quickly sink. Lamper immediately reported the crash.
On May 21, 1946 his brother received a letter of condolence and mentioned an ongoing search for his remains.
Lent was officially declared dead the day of the mission, as a non-battle casualty He is memorialized on the tablets of the missing at Manila American Cemetery. Lent has a memorial marker at Saint Marys Cemetery in Melrose, MN at section C, row 5.
|Discussion Forum||Daily Updates||Reviews||Museums||Interviews & Oral Histories|