The 339th Fighter Squadron was activated on 3 October 1942 and assigned to the 347th Fighter Group throughout WWII. They operated from Henderson Field , Guadalcanal until 29 December 1943; Sterling Island, 15 January 1944; Sanpor, New Guinea, 15 August 1944; and moving to two more bases before ending up in California on 30 December 1945.
The squadron flew the P-39 and P-40, but it was in the P-38 Lightning that their aerial victories really added up. The high point of the squadron's combat operations was one of the most famous missions ever undertaken, the downing of Admiral Yamamoto’s airplane over Bouganville, in the Solomon Islands.
The Allies, who had broken the Japanese codes, intercepted a random radio transmission detailing the Admiral’s plan to visit Kahili airdrome on Bouganville. Yamamoto had conceived and executed the attack on Pearl Harbor, and the Chiefs of Staff made plans to shoot down his aircraft enroute to Bouganville.
Only the P-38 Lightning could handle this mission which involved a flight of almost a thousand miles. The mission was assigned to the 339th Fighter squadron, whose P-38's flew at wave top levels to arrive two minutes before Yamamoto's plane reached the planned intercept position.
The ambush succeeded and the remains of the downed Betty bomber lays in the undergrowth of the jungle, a grim reminder of the awesome influence of airpower on that fateful day of 18 April 1943.
Size: 5 1/2 inches (14 cm) by 5 inches (12.7 cm)
Material: Embroidered on blue felt
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