Charles H. MacDonald
475th Fighter Group, 431st Fighter Squadron
P-38 Lightning Ace Pilot
Charles Henry MacDonald was born November 23, 1914 in Dubois, Pennsylvania. Nicknamed ""Mac".
On October 1, 1943 as a Major joined the 475th Fighter Group "Satan's Angels" (475th FG) as the group executive officer at Dobodura. He claimed his first four victories in his first month of flying and claimed his fifth victory and became an ace on November 9, 1943 when he downed two Zekes [sic Ki-43 Oscars] near Alexishafen Airfield. On November 10, 1943 promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became the Commanding Officer (C. O.) of the 475th Fighter Group (475th FG).
At least five
P-38 Lightnings were assigned to MacDonald each nicknamed "Putt Putt Maru" with squadron number 100 including:
P-38J "Put Put Maru" 42-67144 ultimate fate unknown
P-38J "Put Put Maru II" 42-104024 ultimate fate unknown
P-38L "Put Put Maru III" 42-24843 pilot
Henry L. Condon crashed January 2, 1945
P-38L "Put Put Maru IV" 44-25643 damaged January 27, 1945 ultimate fate unknown
P38L "Put Put Maru V" 44-25471 lost February 6, 1945
On August 1, 1944 the scheduled a mission over Ceram was canceled due to bad weather. Regardless Charles H. MacDonald, Meryl Smith and Danny Miller invited Charles A. Lindbergh to participate in a fighter sweep over Palau in search of aerial victories. The four P-38s took off from Mokmer Drome on Biak Island at 9:27am northward for the 1,200 mile mission mostly over open ocean. Despite some bad weather the flight reached Peleliu roughly 2 hours 30 minutes later at an altitude of 15,000' and flew northward then dove down over Koror and were met by anti-aircraft fire then flew to Babelthuap then turned southward at low level and strafed several small vessels then spotted two A6M2-N Rufes and released their drop tanks to engage. One Rufe was shot down by MacDonald and crashed into the sea. Lindbergh attacked the second Rufe but accidentally fired on Smith's P-38 but missed. Suddenly another Zero was spotted above as Smith shot down the second Rufe. The Zero attempted to line up on Lindbergh but was chased away by MacDonald. Calling to withdraw after thirty minutes over the target area, the four spotted a Val dive bomber and MacDonald shot it down. While withdrawing southward, a Zero in pursuit was spotted by Lindbergh and he attempted to intercept it but the Zero got on his tail and opened fire but missed. In defense he made a hard right turn and the Zero was fired on by MacDonald and Miller and left smoking as the four departed. This was likely the most harrowing combat Lindbergh experienced and might have resulted in him being shot down.
Afterwards, MacDonald was grounded by General Paul Wurtsmith sixty day "punitive leave" and sent to the U. S. for leave as punishment for placing Lindbergh in a dangerous situation. Previously, 5th Fighter Command had stated it was impossible for fighters to escort bombers to Palau due to the distance and weather. The four P-38s fighter sweep revealed it was possible.
After his leave in the United States,
MacDonald returned to the 475th in time to lead the group during the liberation of the Philippines.
MacDonald passed away at age 87 on March 3, 2002. His burial or memorial marker in the United is unknown.