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John Edgar Purdy's Lockheed P-38 Lightning

Walter Colvin

Showlow, United States

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P-38L-5-LO
Unit: 433rd FS, 475th FG, 5th AF, USAAF ( Satan’s Angels )
Serial: 174 (44-25930)
Pilot – 1st.Lt. John Edgar Purdy. Dulag, Philippines, December 1944.
Model by SkyUnlimited.

John Edger Purdy was drafted in the U.S. Army on June 21st 1941. He was accepted for pilot training and graduated at Luke Field, Arizona in may 1943. Purdy was sent to New Guinea in December 1943 to join the 475th Fighter Group’s 433d Fighter Squadron.

The 475th Fighter Group flew the Lockheed P-38 Lightning out bases from New Guinea to the Philippines during WWII. In just two years they flew 3042 missions, 21,701 sorties and shot down 551 Japanese aircraft while only losing 56 of their own in combat and was awarded three Distinguished Unit Citations for outstanding performance in the line of action. By the end of the war the 475th Fighter Group had produced 38 Aces and was home of USA’s second greatest Ace, Maj. Thomas McGuire, with 38 kills. The Major was KIA over Los Negros Island on January 7th 1945 and received the Medal of Honor posthumously. Charles Lindbergh also flew over 20 combat missions dive bombing, strafing and two combat victories, with the 433rd as a civilian ‘observer’. He liked to fly P-38 number 196, which would be at the far right end of this photo. Amazingly he did it with out even the President’s or anyone in Washington DC’s knowledge.

The 475th Fighter Group was formed in May 1943. The 35th Fighter Group was only one of two Fighter Groups available to defend Australia against the Japanese advance in early 1942 and was the first to use the P-38 Lighting in the Pacific. The 35th Fighter Group flew P-38 Lightning’s, P-39/P-400 Airacobra’s, P-47 Thunderbolt’s and P-51 Mustang’s. The 35th Fighter Group was awarded two Distinguished Unit Citations for outstanding performance in the line of action during WWII with 397 Japanese aircraft shot down and with 20 Aces produced. The 35th Fighter Group, 39th Squadron was the first combat home for USA’s greatest Ace of all time, the ‘Ace of Ace’s’ and Medal of Honor recipient, Maj. Richard Bong. With 40 kills in the P-38 Lighting, the first five while in the 39th Squadron. The P-38’s of 39th Squadron would later be absorbed into the 475th Fighter Group in November 1943. Major Bong died test piloting a new jet fighter, the P-80, on Aug-6th-1945, the day the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.

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