Captain Arthur L. Post
6th Photo Reconnaissance Group, 8th Photo Reconnaissance Squadron
Commanding Officer (C. O.) F-5 Lightining Pilot
Arthur L. Post was born on July 6, 1917 in Milwaukee, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin. He enlisted in the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number O-439653. Later, promoted to 1st Lieutenant and later to the rank of Captain.
On June 4, 1943 Captain Arthur L. Post became the Commanding Officer (C. O.)
of the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) based at 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby flying the F-4 Lightning and F-5 Lightning, the photographic reconnaissance version of the P-38E Lightning and P-38G Lightning with cameras installed in the nose compartment instead of armament on missions over Japanese occupied areas.
On June 20, 1943 took off 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) near Port Moresby piloting F-5A Lightning 42-13070 on a photographic reconnaissance mission with drop tanks attached to photograph Rapopo Airfield, Simpson Harbor and Rabaul. Inbound to the target 10:15am his radio message was received 10:15 from the vicinity of Wide Bay. Over the target, he was shot down by Zeros and bailed out. Landing with burns and cuts, he managed to link up with friendly natives and was taken to coastwatcher Malcolm Wright. On September 28, 1943 rescued by USS Grouper (SS-214) after delivering forty-three coastwatchers and cargo to Coastwatcher Malcolm Wright on New Britain. On October 20, 1943 he returned to Australia.
He earned the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his courageous service and the June 20, 1943 mission. During late 1943 he was promoted to the rank of Major.
On November 21, 1943 reporter Robert Doyle photographed Post at 14 Mile Drome (Schwimmer) wearing wearing a parachute with seat cushion emergency survival kit identical to the one he used and seated in the cockpit of one of the squadron's Lightnings. At the time, he was not allowed to publish Post's story. It was finally published in the Milwaukee Journal during January, 1947.
On August 25, 1944 took off from Biak piloting F-5A Lightning 42-13093 with passenger TSgt Delbert E. Mendenhall, a propeller specialist from the 8th Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron (8th PRS) aboard on a test flight to check instruments and functions, At 10:45am crashed into the sea roughly 800' from the south coast of Biak roughly 1 1/2 miles off Sorido.
On August 25, 1944 he was killed piloting F-5A Lighnting 42-13093 in a crash on Biak. Postwar he was buried at Spring Hill Cemetery and Mausoleum in Milwaukee, WI.
E&E Report No. 1 - Arthur L. Post pages 1-7
8th Photographic Reconnaissance Diary - June 20, 1943 / October 1943
The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle "Major Post Dies in Air Accident in S. W. Pacific - Shot down in June 1943, he survived 100 days of Jungle Life" September 15, 1944 page 1 (photo), 10
(Page 1) "He was cited for extraordinary heroism in action near Rabaul, New Britain."
(Page 10) "100 Days in the Jungle - He jumped from the crashing plane, and to avoid being strafed, pulled the rip cord of his parachute at only 500 feet. Landing severely burned, with an injured leg, and in close proximity to the powerful enemy base, he contrived to find native assistance, and eluded enemy patrols."
8th Photo Rcn Squadron - Historical Report August 1944
"Losses in Action Technical Sergeant Delbert E. Mendenhall, 37014749, Air Corps, killed in a local test flight, on 25 August 1944. T/Sgt Mendenhall, rated propeller specialist, was taken on a test flight to check instruments and functioning of plane during flight. Definite cause of crash is unknown. The pilot, Major Arthur L. Post, 0439653, 6th Photographic Group Reconnaissance, was also killed. The airplane, F5A (42-13093) crashed in water approximately one mile and a half (1 1/2) from Sorido village, eight hundred (800) feet from the shore, at 1045/K, 25 August 1944."
The Hall of Valor Project - Arthur L. Post (photo, DSC citation)
"The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress July 9, 1918, takes pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross to Major (Air Corps) Arthur L. Post (ASN: O-439653), United States Army Air Forces, for extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy while serving as a Pilot with the 6th Reconnaissance Group, FIFTH Air Force, in action against enemy forces on 28 September 1943, near Rabaul, New Britain. Major Post, in an unarmed and unescorted aircraft, voluntarily undertook a photographic mission over Rabaul. Although attacked by enemy planes, he completed his photographic run and, sighting an enemy convoy, photographed it also. After he had evaded the attacking planes with great skill for some time, and had sheared off the wing top of one of them, both his engines were finally shot out. He jumped from the crashing plane, and, to avoid being strafed, pulled the rip cord of his parachute at only 500 feet. Landing severely burned, with an injured leg, and in close proximity to the powerful enemy base, he contrived to find native assistance, and eluded enemy patrols. During a hundred days of hazardous jungle life, he assembled intelligence information which has proven invaluable in the assessment of enemy strength and in assisting the survival of Allied pilots in enemy controlled territory. Captain Post's unquestionable valor in aerial combat is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Forces."
World War II WWII Army and Army Air Force Casualty List - Post Arthur L
The Eight Ballers - Eyes of the Fifth Air Force (1999) by Stanaway and Rocker page 50 (photo), 160 (losses in action, commanders of the 8th)
Appendix I - Losses in Action - Arthur Post - KIFA [August 25, 1944] in crash off Biak Lagoon.
Wisconsin Historical Society - Arthur L. Post (photos)
"1943- Major Arthur L. Post of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was shot down on June 20th, 1943 and rescued on September 28th, 1943 after 101 days in the jungle. Here he is pictured here with Robert Doyle near the tail of a plane similar to his unarmed photo plane, "Limping Lizzie," that was shot down [sic, likely F-4 "Malaria Mabel" 41-2130 or F-4 "Limping Lizzie" 41-2156]. The airfield where this image was taken was located near Port Moresby, New Guinea (present day Papua New Guinea). Robert Doyle was not allowed to publish Post's story at that time. It was finally published in January, 1947, by the Milwaukee Journal. Major Post intended to write his own story, but was killed in a test airplane on August 25th, 1944, before he had the chance."
FindAGrave - Arthur Lester Post (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Delbert Elza Mendenhall (grave photo)
FindAGrave - Delbert Elza Mendenhall (memorial marker)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for research and analysis
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