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Major Edward Cragg
80th Fighter Squadron P-38 Lightning pilot and Ace
Background
Edward Cragg was born 1919 in Mount Vernon, New York. Nicknamed "Porky". He was a student as New York University (NYU) and completed three years of study into accounts and Finance and living in Greenwich, Connecticut until he dropped out to enlist in the military.

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Wartime History
On November 30, 1940 enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) at Bridgeport, Connecticut as an aviation cadet with serial number 11019891. He went to Albany, Georgia for training then Gunter Field, Alabama during February 1941 to April 1941. Next to Air Corps Advanced Flying School at Craig Field, Selma, AL. On July 11, 1941 commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-421769 and the next day ordered to active duty.

His first assignment was to the Panama Canal Zone when he was assigned to the 37th Pursuit Group, 28th Pursuit Squadron at Albrook Field in Panama and served as the assistant engineering officer, then engineering officer.

Next, sent overseas to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) arriving in Australia on July 4, 1942 and was assgined to the 5th Air Force, 8th Pursuit Group, 80th Pursuit Squadron "Headhunters" as a P-39 Airacobra pilot. His Airacobra was nicknamed "Porky". During July 1942 to October 1942 operated from Port Moresby. During November 1942 to February 6, 1943 operated from Milne Bay.

On September 5, 1942, promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant. On December 17, 1942 promoted to the rank of Captain and the squadron began transitioning to the P-38 Lightning. Cragg was assigned P-38H 42-66506 that he nicknamed "Porky II". On April 8, 1943 became Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 80th Fighter Squadron while operating from 3 Mile Drome (Kila) near Port Moresby. On July 6, 1943 promoted to the rank of Major.

On November 2, 1943 took off piloting P-38H 42-66835 on an escort mission over Rabaul.

On December 22, 1943 took off on a escort mission over Wewak. Over the target, the P-38s engaged in air combat with Ki-61 Tonys from the 78th Sentai. During the combat, Cragg fired on Ki-61 Tony piloted by Major Akira Takatsuki but missed from 200 yards with a deflection shot. When the aircraft attempted a tight loop to get on his tail, it was shot down by the top cover and Major Takatsuki bailed out but was hit by the right propller of Cragg's plane and he saw the pilot falling to the ground. Cragg claimed one aerial victory (14th aerial victory claim). When he returned from the mission, a portion of his parachute was wrapped around his right wing.

Mission History
On December 26, 1943 took off from North Borio Airfield (Dobodura No. 15) piloting P-38H "Porky II" 42-66506 leading a flight of twelve P-38s on an mission to cover the U. S. landing convoy off Cape Gloucester in West New Britain. The weather was scattered clouds to 25,000' with good visibility.

Over the target, intercepted an enemy formation of 20 bombers and 50 fighters. During the combat, nine of the enemy aircraft claimed as shot down and the enemy bombers were forced to drop their bomb load prior to reaching the target.

1st Lt. Burnell W. Adams, 80th Fighter Squadron via MACR 3146
"The P-38 came out of the clouds, a ball of fire and spinning badly. It went in just like that and exploded when it hit. It landed about fifty yards inland on the western shore of Borgen Bay. Thinking that the pilot might have bailed out while in the clouds I stayed in this area for approximately five minutes but observed no parachute. I never did get close enough to the P-38 to observe the color or letter on the nose of the airplane... I decided against going down to view the wreckage."

This P-38 was last observed in a spin after combat with enemy fighters, and crashed on the western shore of Borgen Bay and exploded when it hit the ground. When this aircraft failed to return from the mission it was officially listed as Missing In Action (MIA). The mission he was lost he claimed his 15th aerial victory becoming a triple ace.

Memorials
Cragg was officially declared dead on January 16, 1946. He remains listed as Missing In Action (MIA) to this day. Cragg earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart, posthumously.

Cragg is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing. Previously, the Planes of Fame Museum painted P-38J Lightning 44-23314 in the markings of P-38H "Porky II" 42-66506 as a tribute to missing pilot Major Edward "Porky" Cragg.

Aerial Victory Claims
Cragg was officially credited with fifteen aerial victories and was a triple ace. His score includes claims for six Ki-61Tonys, three Ki-43 Oscars and six A6M Zeros.

Victory Date Location Aircraft Notes on claim
1 05/21/43     First aerial victory claim.
2 07/21/43     Second aerial victory claim.
3 07/21/43     Third aerial victory claim.
4 07/23/43     Fourth aerial victory claim.
5 07/23/43     Fifth aerial victory claim became an "ace".
6 08/20/43     Sixth aerial victory claim.
7 08/20/43     Seventh aerial victory claim.
8 08/21/43     Eighth aerial victory claim.
9 09/04/43     Ninth aerial victory claim.
10 09/04/43     Tenth aerial victory claim, double "ace".
11 10/24/43     Eleventh aerial victory claim.
12 10/24/43     Twelfth aerial victory claim.
13 10/29/43     Thirteenth aerial victory claim.
14 12/22/43 Wewak   Fourteenth aerial victory claim.
15 12/26/43 Cape Gloucester A6M Zero Fifteenth aerial victory claim tripple"ace" went Missing In Action (MIA)

References
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward Cragg

USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical: Cragg, Edward page 46 (PDF page 51), Alphabetical list by theater of operation (SWP) Cragg, Edward: 12/26/43 page 351 (PDF page 357), Chronological List: 12/26/43 page 409 (PDF page 414) and 80th FTR SQ page 573-574 (PDF page 577-578)
Attack & Conquer (1995) pages 135-136
American Battle Monuments Commission, (ABMC) - Edward Cragg
FindAGrave - Maj Edward “Porky” Cragg (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Edward Cragg (memorial marker photo)
ANC Explorer - Edward Cragg


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