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#4647152 - 05/27/24 02:01 AM Dick Bong Aircraft Found  
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 14,154
F4UDash4 Online cool
F4UDash4  Online Cool

Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 14,154
It's a shame at least some of the wreckage can't be returned to the US but apparently the Papua New Guinea government has already laid claim.

I also saw elsewhere that Bong's sister is still alive, 99 years old. She was glad to here her brothers aircraft had been found.

World War II ace Dick Bong’s P-38 found after crashing decades ago

"Richard Bong was the United States’ top ace pilot during the Second World War, scoring 40 aerial victories during his time in the war. Many of those kills happened behind the stick of a P-38 fighter plane nicknamed “Marge” after his then-girlfriend and later wife Marjorie Vattendahl. And now “Marge” the plane has been found after 80 years.

On Thursday, searchers announced that they had located what they believed to be the wreckage of Bong’s P-38. It was found in Papua New Guinea’s Madang Province.

The plane went down on March 24, 1944, not in combat but from a mechanical issue. The plane suffered an engine failure and with nothing to do, the pilot bailed out and the plane crashed in the jungles of what is now Papua New Guinea. But Major Dick Bong wasn’t actually piloting Marge that day. Instead, it was Lt. Thomas Malone was in the cockpit, using the plane for a reconnaissance flight.

In March, historical research group Pacific Wrecks and the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center located in Superior, Wisconsin announced they were teaming up in a search for the wreckage of Marge.

Explorers with Pacific Wrecks said that they found the wreck of the plane on May 15. The plane had apparently crashed nose-first in the bottom of the ravine. Despite years exposed to the elements, much of the plane was still identifiable. They shared several pieces of information identifying the wreck as Bong’s. Several pieces of metal identify it both as a P-38 and contain serial numbers matching that of Bong’s Marge. Pacific Wrecks Director Justin Taylan, during a press conference on Thursday, May 23 said that proves it is Marge “beyond a doubt.”

“I think it’s safe to say mission accomplished,” Taylan added."

"In the vast library of socialist books, there’s not a single volume on how to create wealth, only how to take and “redistribute” it.” - David Horowitz
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#4647154 - 05/27/24 06:50 AM Re: Dick Bong Aircraft Found [Re: F4UDash4]  
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,357
rollnloop. Online content
Senior Member
rollnloop.  Online Content
Senior Member

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,357
Marge was beautiful, but apprently quite funky.

On March 24, 1944 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloting P-38J "Marge" 42-103993 with P-38 pilot Lt. Rolland Forrester on a weather reconnaissance mission bound for Wewak. After take off, the pair encountered bad weather with a heavy overcast and turbulence beyond 30,000'. Roughly 50 minutes into the flight, Malone experienced problems with the left engine cooler shutters and radio reception was poor. Due to the bad weather, the P-38s lost contact with each other but heard a radio message from base stating the mission was canceled. Shortly afterwards, Malone's radio failed, one engine stopped and the propeller failed to feather followed by an electrical failure. This P-38 went into a spin and descended to an altitude of 11,000' before Malone bailed out. When his parachute opened, he was nearly knocked unconscious and lost his pistol. Descending in the overcast, he experienced snow inside the clouds before landing unhurt on the eastern side of a river. Using his life raft, Malone attempted to float downriver but the current was too strong and the bottom was rocky. Instead, he walked along the bank for roughly nine hours before encountering a U.S. Army solider from the 32nd Infantry Division (32nd ID) who nearly shot him. Realizing he was an American pilot, he was given food and cigarettes and a radio message was sent reporting him as safe. Overnight, he spent with the soldiers in a foxhole.

On March 25, 1944 in the morning Malone was embarked aboard a barge that transported him downriver bound for Saidor where he spent the rest of the day and night waiting at their regimental headquarters. On March 26, 1944 in the morning he boarded another barge and was taken to Saidor Airfield then flown to Nadzab Airfield and returned to duty. Afterwards, Captain Richard I. Bong was upset about the loss of his P-38 but acknowledged it had some mechanical issues.

Later, promoted to the rank of 1st Lieutenant and became a P-61 Black Widow night fighter pilot and often flew with radar operator Lt. Tom Glynn.

#4647185 - 05/27/24 09:54 PM Re: Dick Bong Aircraft Found [Re: F4UDash4]  
Joined: Apr 2001
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PanzerMeyer Offline
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PanzerMeyer  Offline
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Miami, FL USA
Thanks for sharing that interesting story F4U!

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.”

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