The People behind the “P-38 Lockheed Lightning”
Visit the Museum
Visit the Store
Help the Cause
About the P-38 Lightning
The P-38 had lots of help in making it the best all-around combat airplane of WWII.
There were the designers at Lockheed who created the unique and powerful concept, the test pilots (who made sure everything was working like it should), the assembly workers at Lockheed, the pilots, and among the most important, the crew chief and other members of the crew who kept these birds in the air so the pilots could do their job.
Once you’ve visited all the pages about the P-38 and its human contributors to the mission, stop by and find out about our P-38 Museum adjacent to the airfield where it all started – the March ARB in Riverside, CA.
Following are the details we have gathered on pilots who were qualified as "Aces" (five or more planes shot down) in the P‑38. It's accurate to the best of our knowledge, but if you find any errors or omissions, please let us know! Search for Ace by last name:A | B |...
P‑38 Photo Reconnaissance planes (called F‑4s and F‑5s) and their pilots were the eyes of the AAF. Their only weapon was a camera. (Note the camera opening on the side in the photo below.)The F‑4 was the first version of the unarmed Lightning, and the F‑5 was an...
Origins of the Women Airforce Service Pilots Ferrying Division Air Transport Command Up until three o'clock in the afternoon of May 29, 1941, there was no organization of any kind in American military aviation to provide for either the delivery of planes or air...
Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson
Clarence Leonard "Kelly" Johnson 27 FEB 1910 – 21 DEC 1990 Kelly Johnson is credited with designing the first 400 MPH aircraft -- of course, our beloved P-38.Kelly Johnson's motto says it all: "Be quick, be quiet and be on time." At the remarkably young age of 33 he...
Richard Ira “Dick” Bong
A Young Dick BongGo to Bong's complete biographyAmerica's "Ace of Aces" 24 SEP 1920 / 6 AUG 1945 People have asked us on occasion why we chose this picture of Dick Bong to highlight the page, rather than the more famous one of him sitting in the cockpit of his P‑38....
Test Pilot: Benjamin S. Kelsey
Benjamin "Ben" Kelsey 9 MAR 1906 – 6 MAR 1981 Benjamin "Ben" Kelsey is most well known by P-38 fans as the pilot who first flew the Lightning cross country.XP-38 Kelsey co-authored the technical specifications which led to the development of the P-38 Lightning.In...
The Romanian Rescue Mission
Flight Officer Richard T. "Dick" Andrews made an extraordinarily brave rescue of another P‑38 pilot under extreme combat conditions. Learn about the exceptional story by selecting a link here. >Story Map Photos Silver Star Citation Diorama of Rescue Vietnam Rescue...
Test Pilot: Tony LeVier
Anthony William "Tony" LeVier 14 FEB 1913 / 6 FEB 1998 The P-38 National Association Museum is housed in the Tony LeVier Hangar, for whom it's named and to whom it's dedicated. For more details about the monument, click here.Tony became fascinated with planes as a...
Henry Harley "Hap" Arnold 25 JUN 1886 - 15 JAN 1950 "Hap" Arnold is primarily remembered by fans of the P‑38 as the man who approved its first, historic cross-country flight to New York. You can read more about this attempt and the results of that flight here. It met...
Plant Assembly Workers
None of this could have happened, of course, without the personnel working long, hard hours at the Lockheed Burbank assembly plant. Check out these amazing pictures of the line workers doing their honorable work.Here is a clever poem written by them and dedicated to...
A P-38 pilot in our organization once said... "My crew kept me alive." That about says it all. Although the pilots are often given the recognition and the glory, they wouldn't be in the air without the crew keeping their Lightnings in tip-top shape for their...
These tributes have been created by Erich Anderson, and each tribute link below will take you to their individual tribute page on Erich's site, "Veteran Tributes." This is an enormous undertaking, and Erich should be recognized and appreciated for allhis hard work....
Anyone you recognize?
This great picture was sent to us by Edgar Wolf, Jr. What we know is that this photo was taken from original negatives by photo specialists and only recently discovered. It is thought that it was from the 59th Fighter Squadron stationed at a field about five miles...
Author & Historian It is with great sadness that we let everyone know our dear friend, John, passed away on December 18, 2019. John was our long-time historian and a great supporter of the Association and its mission. I've decided to leave this page active in case...
Help preserve the history...
Select an amount from the links below, you will be taken to our secure PayPal donation page, where you may use a credit card to make the donation amount of your choosing.
If you prefer to mail in a donation by check or money order, please make your payment payable to:
P‑38 National Association
PO Box 6453
March ARB, CA 92518
Once we receive your donation, we will be notified and add your name to our donors page.
If you wish to make a donation in honor of someone or in memory of them, you can provide us the "Name of Honoree" instead.
Make a Donation: