Just a quick note to thank everyone who has been sending in those nice emails about our "P‑38 Newsletter." It takes a lot of teamwork to pull it together, and we are most appreciative of all your positive feedback.
Now...on with this edition!
PS -- A reminder that if there is a larger version of a photo, you an access it by clicking on it.
The Chino Air Show is coming up shortly and they will, of course, be flying at least one P‑38. Be sure to visit the Planes of Fame website for complete details on the show.
Here is an excellent video, featuring Jeff Ethell, which will give you just about everything you'd want to know about the P‑38. Col Jeff Ethell was killed on June 6, 1997, while flying a privately owned P‑38 near Tillamook, Oregon. Not sure how it showed up on YouTube, but we're glad it did.
Very brief video of "23 Skidoo" on takeoff.
Bruce Blakeley send up this photo that he took of "Thoughts of Midnight" at the CA International Air Show Salinas. We don't very often see photos of this P‑38 owned by Tom Friedkin of
Houston so it was nice to receive.
California Capital Air Show
Tyson V. Rininger took these great "crew" shots from the amazing CA Capital Air Show. These are the guys that kept all those P‑38s running during their visit. Thanks guys!
Bob Alvis and Dayle DeBry, of the P‑38 National Association, were interviewed recently by the internet radio station "Warbird Radio." If you can play .wav files (usually with Windows Media Player) you can listen to it right here, without all the "before and after" chit chat. If you can't play .mov files, you can find it here on their website -- with all the chit chat.
Newsletter subscriber Mike Leggett found a poem about the P‑38 recently in his Dad's belongings. He believes it was written by a fellow POW, George A. Evans, in or around 1944. We have had it on our website for quite a few years, attributed to "Anonymous" so unless someone knows otherwise, we've changed the byline. The poem is called "Lightnings in the Sky" and you an read it here.
Pilot-in-training Fred Mezger was browsing around Google Earth one day and saw this familiar shape on the ground in Van Horn, TX.
I found this website that has a few vector drawings of P‑38s that you can download for free, including one of the P‑38 variations. You may need to register, but once you do there is no cost to download the images. Just enter P‑38 in the search box.
If you are interested in exploring the topic of P‑38 crashes, we've run across a couple of sites that you may want to check out.
The other is Aviation Safety Network, which seems to be basically a "just the facts" site, and they link back to the above site if you want more info on the incident listed. For example, here's the data I found on one P‑38 crash. I couldn't see any search capacity, but they do have directory of the various areas of their website you might want to explore such as "database."
Flight Global has a good cutaway drawing of a P‑38 on their site. Once you get to the site, just click on the drawing to see a detailed close-up view.
We received an e-mail from Tim Churney seeking information on a Lockheed ashtray that was given to plant workers at the time as an "Employee of the Month" award. If anyone has any more info on this, please let Tim know.
We received a picture of this P‑38 stamp from Hans Oldenburger, from the Netherlands. It was issued in 1999 by the Federated States of Micronesia in the "The Millennium. Man's First Century of Flight." series.
If you'd like to change the image on your computer desktop, here's a nice image for that.
Although the content in the "Association News" section of our newsletter is for people interested in P‑38 Association activities, this month we have an interesting bit on info on our recent "Aviation Sunday" event at Flabob Airport in Riverside CA, and we think it's worth a look. Check it out (and the photos).
If you are into modeling, here is a nice review of the gun barrels by Quickboost to be used on the Academy P‑38 1/72 model.
Found this interesting topic on a forum for P‑38 model builders.
Autopsy of a 1966 Kit
This is an interesting video of a modeler who owns a 1966 Monogram kit of a P‑38. He opens the kit on camera and displays all the "guts" piece by piece.
I know, building a P‑38 with Legos® is not really modelling, but I thought while we were in the same general area, I'd include yet another Lego P‑38 which has shown up online This is the third one I have seen. Might be catching on!
13th Air Force
Some of my P‑38 veteran friends have pointed out that I not only neglected the photo recon units, but to a large extent the entire 13th Air Force, which served so proudly in the Solomons as well as the Philippine Islands. It is also a fact that XIII Fighter Command was almost exclusively equipped with the P‑38 by 1944, the only fighter command of the war for which that is true.
The 13th Air Force was constituted in December 1942 and activated on 13 January 1940 in New Caledonia. Combat with the P‑38 was initiated before the 13th was even activated when pilots from the 70th and 339th Fighter Squadrons began operations with the venerable Lockheed in November 1942. Eight P‑38s of V Fighter Command's 39th Fighter Squadron were flown in to Henderson Field in November to bolster the thin line of Bell P‑400 and P‑39 fighters then constituting the U. S. Army's fighter presence on Guadalcanal until additional P‑38s arrived at the end of the month.
On 18 November 1942 the first recorded 13th Fighter Command P‑38 victories were scored when three Zeros attempting to intercept a bombing raid in the Buin area were claimed by 339th Fighter Squadron pilots. More victories were scored during the end of 1942 and beginning of 1943, including the spectacular night kill of a Mitsubishi Betty bomber over Guadalcanal for one of the first P‑38 scores of the redoubtable Captain John Mitchell.
Of course, what was to become perhaps the greatest operation flown by P‑38s was led by newly promoted Major John Mitchell in April when sixteen 339th Fighter Squadron pilots intercepted and shot down Admiral Yamamoto's Betty over Bougainville on April 18, 1943. Two months later, another 339th pilot, Lieutenant Murray Shubin claimed five Zeros in a single mission for the only such accomplishment by a Pacific P‑38 pilot during the war.
After the Solomons were secured and Rabaul was neutralized by April 1944, the 13th Air Force became primarily a tactical air force with many more ground attack operations rather than aerial engagements. There were few aerial victories, in fact, between March and September 1944. During September, Lt. Col. Robert "Westy" Westbrook shot down his tenth and eleventh Japanese fighters when he claimed a pair of Oscars over the Celebes. He would claim two more in October to become the top ace of the 13th Air Force before he was lost on a strafing mission in November. Bill Harris became the highest scoring P‑38 ace of the 13th Air Force in February 1944 when he scored his fourteenth victory with the 339th Fighter Squadron. He also scored one of the last victories of XIII Fighter Command when he claimed an Oscar over Celebes on June 22, 1945. In all there were in excess of twenty XIII Fighter Command fighter pilots who became aces with five or more aerial victories. About twelve of these aces scored the majority of their claims in the P‑38, and the type became dominant during the first half of 1944. General Hubert Harmon spent a great deal of energy trying to convince his superiors to give him more P‑38s to replace other types, but got advice like removing 5,000 pounds of equipment from the P‑39 to make it a more competitive fighter against Japanese adversaries!
As it happened, the 13th Air Force ended its war in the Pacific as part of General George Kenney's Far East Air Force, and presented a proud record in spite of considerable restrictions on its ability. Few air commands could boast such impressive results with such limited means.
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The generous donations from our Association members and P‑38 Newsletter subscribers as well as the "legacy" donations made to us by the families and friends of those who have taken their last flight, have enabled us to continue our mission of keeping alive the memory of the P‑38 and all those involved with her throughout the war years and beyond. And we thank you.
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Thanks to all of you for helping to keep us thriving. The supporters with a star ★ by their names are our special donors, who have made especially generous donations of $100+.
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Association Upcoming Events
May 14-15 Chino Air Show - Come visit our booth!
June 24-25 Annual Membership Meeting @ the Grand Canyon.
P‑38 Association Annual Meeting
Complete details are now available on our website for our annual get together at the Planes of Fame Museum, Valle, AZ location. We have also managed to persuade the folks at PofF to bring over their P‑38, 23 Skidoo, again to offer member flights. This was a tremendous hit last year, with the rides running out just before daylight did. These flights are available to the general public as well, as long as they join the Planes of Fame Museum (which can be done at the same time as you are reserving a flight). The flights aren't cheap, but are so well worth it. Check that off your "bucket list"! Flight reservation details here.
Many of you were able to attend our unveiling/pizza party for the magnificent small-scale reproduction of March AFB circa 1942‑43 that was built by our own Howard Ramshorn, Lowell Stacy and Stan Jones in our P‑38 Museum adjacent to March. For those of you who weren't able to attend, however, we didn't want you to miss it, so we've dedicated a page for it on our website (with lots of photos to show the incredible detail built into this project). You can visit it here.
We had several P‑38 pilots and crew members at the party, including former Association President (and P‑38 Ace) Frank Hurlbut.
As part of the P‑38 Association sponsored "Aviation Sundays" at Flabob Airport in Riverside, CA, we recently hosted a day with the WASPs which was a phenomenal success. We had a huge crowd to greet Flora Belle Reece, our featured speaker. In December of 1944 the WASPS disbanded so Flora Belle's dream of flying in a P‑38had to be put away, she thought forever. However, her dream became a reality on April 20, 2004 when she accompanied Planes of Fame pilot Steve Hinton in their P‑38Lightning into Bob Hope Airport.
As a nice surprise Flora Belle brought along a fellow WASP, Irma "Babe" Story, and then WASP Alma Fornal showed up as well; so we had three WASPs in attendance -- quite a treat. You can click on photo to see enlarged version.
The WASPs, who were not recognized for their contribution back in the 40's, were all awarded the Congressional Gold Medal on March 10, 2010, almost 70 years after the Women Airforce Service Pilots were disbanded with little notice or fanfare. Flora Belle said she would happily give up the medal if it meant she could get more airtime in the cockpit. Amazing lady.
As some of you may not know, one of the WASPs, Evelyn "Sharpie" Sharp, was actually killed in a P‑38when she was only 24. She became an airplane instructor at age 20 (if you can imagine!) and over 350 men learned to fly under her instruction.
XP-38 Lockheed Employee Attendee
Amazingly, one of the other guests at the WASPs event was Milton Bradshaw, who tells us he was one of the Lockheed employees who actually worked on the first P‑38, the YP‑38 -- the one that didn't quite make it to its original destination. You can read about Lt. Ben Kelsey's adventure on the main page of our website.
P‑38 Pilots Interviewed for Documentary
Documentary filmmaker Brad Branch, of Long Shot Films, is currently working on a piece about the air war over Europe and wanted to interview a P‑38 pilot or two if we could arrange it. On May 1st Howard Ramshorn met with him at our P‑38 Museum, for interviews with some of our Association Members who were P‑38 Pilots.
Things went very well and we will hopefully be working with Brad again in the future.
President Bob Alvis and PR Director Dayle DeBry held down the fort for the P‑38 Association this year at the Poppy Festival in Lancaster, CA. They were lucky enough to have P‑38 pilot Colin MacDougall (who served at Attu in the Aleutian Islands) there to sign autographs for the visitors. (That's a couple of P‑38 tires out in front of the booth!)
Bob on the Radio
Bob Alvis is hosting a new, weekly radio show on the local Lancaster radio station, KOSS 1380. It runs from 11-12:00PM every Friday, and covers a variety of topics including, of course, the P‑38. He frequently has P‑38 pilots as onair guests, so check it out.
Bob will also be speaking at a P‑38 event at the March Field Museum on Thursday, May 19, at 11:30. The event is being hosted by the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
Eugene Graham Jr.
Flora Belle Reece
*Upgraded to Life Membership!
This month we're doing something a little different. We are putting a "design" on sale, rather than just one product.
This is the design:
It's called the "Diving P-38" design.
And these are some of the products it comes in:
All prices are marked down by 20% and will be increased again with the next edition of this newsletter.
This special is over.