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P-38 Lightning   &   P-39 Airacobra

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P-38 Lightning, 23 Skidoo - Planes of Fame Air Museum

P-38 Lighning at Planes of Fame Air museum

The plane, numbered 162, has the markings that Captain Dahl's plane had while he was with the 432nd fighter squadron. Captain Dahl was a WWII flying ace who flew a P-38 in the Pacific Theater. Five victorieswere needed to become an ace. Nose art is an American Indian brave, running with his tomahawk. Text on side of plane: "Pilot captain Perry J. Dahl / Crew Chief T/SGT Doyle Dowell". Plane is marked with 9 Victories. 23 Skidoo is a saying from the 1920s, and another way to say 'getting out while the getting's good.'

P-38 Lightning nose art "23 Skidoo"

The Lockheed Lightning is well-known for a famous mission flown on April 18, 1943, when P-38 pilots of the 339th Fighter Squadron shot down the Japanese G4M Betty carrying Admiral Yamamoto, the man who had planned the attack on Pearl Harbor. Selected because of its range, the P-38s flew from Guadalcanal to the Solomon Islands, to successfully ambush Yamamoto, the commander-in-chief of the Japanese fleet. 

Bell P-39N Airacobra, Planes of Fame Air Museum

P-39 Airacobra - Planes of Fame Air Museum

This aircraft was recovered from Tadji, West Sepik, Papua New Guinea in 1974. It formerly flew with the 5th Air Force, 71st TRG (tactical reconnaissance group), 82nd TRS (Tactical reconnaissance Squadron) and had been based in New Guinea in May 1944.

P-39 airacobra nose art "Little Sir Echo"

Printed on the nose is the personal name of the airplane, Little Sir Echo. The plane was named after song which was first published in 1917, and re-recorded by several poplar artists in 1939, including Bing Crosby and Guy Lombardo & His Royal Canadians. The drop tank has the words Secrut Weapon and depicts Woody the Woodpecker coming out of a bomb. It has white theater markings, including those on the tail, spinner and on the leading edges of the wings.


During World War II, the 5th Air Force was the main air combat unit in the South Pacific. According to information posted on the Vance Air Force Base website, the 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group “... moved to New Guinea and Biak in 1943, and flew reconnaissance missions over New Guinea , New Britain, and the provide target and damage-assessment photographs for air force units.”
Photos taken at Planes of Fame Air Museum - Chino, CA

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