Aleutian P-38 Lightning summary

Last update: January 29, 2020.

This is my in progress compilation of Lockheed P-38 Lightning aircraft that occurred in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska USA, during 1942-1945 (a LIST in order by serial number). Evidence for occurrence includes photographs, accident reports ( and aircraft fates by serial number ( Please contact me with comments, corrections, edits, additional images.

A few words about camouflage and markings: Aleutian P-38s, until the arrival of P-38Ls in 1945, were olive drab over neutral gray, with a wavy but sharp delimitation between the two colours. Spinners were olive drab except for some long surviving (R)P-38Es and other aircraft that had colourful spinners added at Attu in 1944-45. Two photographs of F-5-As (unarmed photo recon version of the P-38) appear to show the same olive drab over neutral gray scheme of the P-38EGJs.

With the exception of the F-5-As, all aircraft were marked with a characteristic yellow nose and an 18" high yellow 45 degree angle number stencil code on the sides of the nose on the weapons bay access doors. These codes were normally two-digit, with codes in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s - two aircraft in references had a single digit (5 and 6) and one aircraft had 100 as its yellow nose code. The same yellow code number could appear on more than one aircraft (probably not simultaneously, but see e.g., P-38E 41-2007 'yellow 80' and and P-38E 41-2069 'yellow 80'). In early 1943 these nose codes were duplicated in c.4" bold yellow 45 degree angle number stencil code added on the top of the vertical stabilizers. Some aircraft show traces of a four-digit 3" yellow code on the port side of the nose cowling just underneath the outermost gun. On the boom radiator cowlings some aircraft had the logo (below) of the 54th Fighter Squadron that was based at Adak (September 1942 - February 1943), Amchitka (March - October 1943) and Attu (Alexai Point, November 1943 - March 1946).

Most or all P-38Es apparently arrived with the 'U.S. Army' stencilled lettering on the wing undersides. All P-38Es and most P-38Gs appear to have arrived with 1942 national marks (these on the tail booms of some P-38Es showed traces of the red central dot from earlier markings). These were altered, sometimes crudely, to the star and bars with red surround national mark sometime in May 1943, and then repainted again in autumn 1943 to the star and bars with blue surround national markings. A few images from 1942 show bare metal propellors.

At least several aircraft had nicknames painted in yellow (by the same artist or at least in the same style) on the sides of the nose section behind the 18" yellow codes (e.g., 'Lorna D', 'Kiska Kicker', 'Jerry II', 'Stinky II', 'Pat'). Lt. George Laven's aircraft had the yellow nicknames painted on the outside engine cowlings: 'Itsy Bitsy' in block yellow capital lettering above a one-finger salute. Aleutian P-38s showed little in the way of nose art until 1944-45 when some (R)P-38Es stationed at Attu were decorated with garish porno resembling that seen in western Europe. Two P-38Es had Warhawk-like shark mouths painted on both engine cowlings. Aleutian P-38s, especially the first crop of P-38Es, showed extreme weathering with paint loss across the leading edge of the wing and on the wing top adjacent to the cockpit.


The list...



P-38E 41-1988 yellow 82, image from early 1943 possibly April (note the early type D-model-style scoop forward of the turbochargers), this aircraft was w/o July 1, 1944 at Attu, condemned July 1, 1944.



P-38E 41-1989 yellow 82 'Stinky Jr. II', image from 1943, accident report for March 5, 1944 at Shemya (Lt. Henry P. Eichacker and ac missing).


P-38E 41-1993 yellow xx, Lt. Carl R. Bigger, accident report for March 20, 1943 (pilot killed) at Zeto Point, Adak.


P-38E 41-1998 yellow 93 [shark mouths], Lt. Herbert Hasenfus, image from 1942 (Adak), this aircraft was w/o Apr 30, 1945 at Shemya, salvaged May 29, 1945


P-38E 41-2003 yellow xx, Lt. James F. Crutchfield, accident report and w/o May 30, 1943 at Amchitka, AK

P-38E 41-2004 yellow xx, wrecked December 25, 1942 at Adak, w/o May 8, 1943 at Muroc, CA.


P-38E 41-2005 yellow 86, Lt. Thomas C. Archer, image from December 25, 1942 landing accident (Adak, pilot killed)


P-38E 41-2006 yellow xx, accident at Cold Bay, October 1942, aircraft w/o.


P-38E 41-2007 yellow 80, Lt. Stan Long.

P-38E 41-2008 yellow xx, Lt. Richard B. Gardner, accident report for December 5, 1942 at Adak.

P-38E 41-2010 yellow xx, Lt. Marion M. Davis, Lt. James E. Sholty, accident reports from August 26, 1943 (Amchitka) and December 16, 1943 (Alexai Pt. Attu).


P-38E 41-2012 yellow xx, Adak 1942.


P-38E 41-2018 yellow xx, Lt. Louis A. Ortali, accident report and w/o May 24, 1943 at Amchitka.


P-38E 41-2026 yellow 5, profileSIC.


P-38E 41-2027 yellow xx, Lt. R.B. Gardner, accident report from Cold Bay, October 27, 1942.

P-38E 41-2031 yellow xx, Lt. D.A. Halgren, accident report and w/o October 26, 1942 at Adak.

P-38E 41-2032 yellow xx, image from Adak.


P-38E 41-2034 yellow xx, at Adak, 1942


P-38E 41-2039 yellow xx, image (damaged) from Adak.

P-38E 41-2044 yellow xx, wrecked at Fort Glen, Umnak July 22, 1942.

P-38E 41-2049 yellow xx, Lt. John K. Geddes, accident report and w/o March 12, 1943 at Amchitka.


P-38E 41-2069 yellow 80 'Itsy Bitsy', Lt. George Laven, images from summer 1943 and later.


P-38E 41-2074 yellow xx, Lt. Albert L. Goebel, accident report and w/o October 12, 1942 at Elmendorf.


P-38E 41-2076 yellow 76 'Itsy Bitsy', Lt. George Laven, image from September 1942, Adak (n.b., I have not seen an image of this ac that includes both the nose # 76 and the alleged tail number 12076).


P-38E 41-2079 yellow xx, image from Adak, autumn 1942, Lt. Robert N. Baker, accident report for January 2, 1943, condemned at Alexai Pt. Attu September 12, 1944.


P-38E 41-2080 yellow xx, Lt. John K. Dillon, accident report and w/o July 22, 1943 at Adak.

P-38E 41-2082 yellow 89, model image.

P-38E 41-2092 yellow xx, Lt. George I. Ruddell, accident report from January 7, 1943 at Adak.


P-38E 41-2112 yellow 84, image from summer 1943, w/o at Attu, December 3, 1944.


P-38E 41-2119 yellow xx, w/o at Cold Bay, July 10, 1942.


P-38E 41-2221 yellow 76, image from Attu, winter 1944-45


P-38E 41-2222 yellow xx, Lt. Robert L. McDonald, accident report from 'Reindeer Field' August 28, 1942.


P-38E 41-2227 yellow 91 'Gerry II', images from autumn 1942 and summer 1943, in accidents April 10, 1943 (Adak) and April 7, 1944 (Alexai Point, Attu).


P-38E 41-2229 yellow xx, image from Adak.


P-38E 41-2232 yellow xx, image^ from Adak October 1942, w/o March 24, 1944 at Alexai Pt., Attu.


P-38E 41-2239 yellow xx, image from Adak, autumn 1942

P-38E 41-2252 yellow 77 'Lorna D [I]', Lt. John K. Geddes, shot down in fight with G4Ms, May 23, 1943 at Attu.

P-38E 41-2058 yellow xx, Lt. Robert N. Baker, accident report and w/o December 5, 1942 at Adak.


P-38E 41-2265 yellow 75, image from summer 1943 (Amchitka).


P-38E 41-2273 yellow 100.


P-38E 41-2276 yellow xx, Lt. Kenneth W. Ambrose (aircraft left Aleutians and later crashed into Mt. Baker, WA on November 28, 1942)


P-38E 41-2289 yellow xx, 'wrecked at Atka' November 30, 1942.



F-5-A-1-LO 42-12685, Lt. John G. Austin, accident report from November 10, 1943 at Cold Bay, w/o August 19, 1944 at Duvall OK.


F-5-A-1-LO 42-12686, at Adak, winter 1942-43.


P-38G-5-LO 42-12800 yellow xx, Lt. Wayne Dailey, accident report and w/o April 3, 1944 at Alexai Pt., Attu.


P-38G-10-LO 42-12908 yellow 74, summer 1943 (second image off Sugarloaf Head Semisopochnoi Island). This aircraft was in an accident December 21, 1943 at Alexai Pt., Attu and condemned November 16, 1944.


P-38G-10-LO 42-12909 yellow xx, Lt. Richard M. Garver, accident report and w/o April 3, 1944 at Alexai Pt., Attu.



P-38G-10-LO 42-13400 yellow 95, Lt. Robert L. Nesmith, image from crash site, winter 1945.


P-38G-10-LO 42-13407 yellow xx, Lt. Orville B. Farley, accident report from April 17, 1944 at Shemya.


P-38G-10-LO 42-13544 yellow 77 'Lorna D [II]', summer 1943 at Amchitka, Lt. John K. Geddes. This aircraft was w/o April 28, 1944 at Alexai Pt., Attu. (n.b., this was Geddes' second 'Lorna D', the first (P-38E 41-2252) being shot down May 23, 1943 during the Battle of Attu).



P-38G-10-LO 42-13545 yellow 86, winter 1943-44 at Attu and in flight. This aircraft was w/o March 18, 1945 at Casco Cove, Attu.


P-38G-10-LO 42-13546 yellow xx, , Lt. William T. Samways, accident report and w/o October 29, 1943 at Shemya.

P-38G-10-LO 42-13547 yellow xx, , Lt. James F. Crutchfield, accident report and w/o September 3, 1943 at Amchitka.


P-38G-10-LO 42-13548 yellow 92, 1944 or 1945 at Attu.


P-38G-10-LO 42-13549 yellow xx, Lt. Harry R. Jones, Lt. John E. Vogel, accident reports from September 14, 1943 (Adak) and April 26, 1944 ('Charlie Strip'), w/o April 26, 1944 at 'Charlie Strip'.

P-38G-10-LO 42-13550 yellow xx, , Lt. Dale K. Payne, accident report and w/o July 6, 1945 at Casco Cove, Attu.

P-38G-10-LO 42-13551 yellow xx, , Lt. Dutton A. Stahl, accident report and w/o July 3, 1945 at Casco Cove, Attu.

P-38G-10-LO 42-13552 yellow xx, , Lt. John K. Geddes, accident report and w/o August 26, 1943 at Amchitka.



P-38G-10-LO 42-1355x yellow 72, image from Amchitka, September 1943


P-38G-13-LO 43-2229 yellow xx, Lt. Alexander J. Gates, accident report from September 3, 1943, Amchitka.

P-38G-13-LO 43-2244 yellow xx, Lt. John S. Mackey, accident report from May 20, 1943, Amchitka.

P-38G-13-LO 43-2257 yellow xx, Lt. Edward F. Wybranoski, accident report from September 9, 1943, Amchitka.

P-38G-13-LO 43-2289 yellow xx, Lt. Warren B. Banks, accident report from May 25, 1943, Amchitka.

P-38G-13-LO 43-2299 yellow xx, Lt. William R. Catlin, accident report from January 20, 1944, Alexai Pt., Attu.


P-38G-13-LO 43-2313 yellow 81, Lt. Miles Werner, shot down May 1, 1943 at Kiska.


P-38G-13-LO 43-2320 yellow 98 'Kiska Kicker', summer 1943



P-38J-10-LO 42-67638 yellow 85, Lt. Arthur M. Kidder, crash landed February 2, 1945 at Buldir Island.


P-38J-10-LO 42-67641 yellow xx, Lt. Conrad S. Allman, accident report from June 24, 1945 at Attu.


P-38J-10-LO 42-67642 yellow 68, at Attu, probably winter 1944-45.


P-38J-10-LO 42-67643 yellow xx, Lt. Roland M. Trumball, accident report from June 20, 1945 at Alexai Pt., Attu.



images with serial numbers not visible

P-38E 41-xxxx yellow 75 [shark mouths], image from early 1943.



P-38E 41-xxxx yellow 78, image from September 1942 (Adak).


P-38E 41-xxxx yellow 98 and 99, image from 1942 (Adak)


P-38E 41-xxxx yellow 90 'Pat', image from 1942 (Adak)


P-38G-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 60 [plus unintellible logo].


P-38G-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 79, 1944 or 1945 at Attu.


P-38G 42-xxxx yellow 87, image from Amchitka, summer 1943.


P-38G-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 88, 1944 or 1945 at Attu.


P-38G-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 63, 1943.



P-38s yellow 100, yellow 94 and yellow 95 'Bobbie'.


P-38J-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 82, at Attu 1944 or 1945.


P-38J-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 85, at Attu 1944 or 1945 (n.b., Lt. Arthur W. Kidder crash landed P-38J-10-LO 42-67638 with nose number 85 at Buldir Island on February 2, 1945).


P-38J-10-LO 42-xxxxx yellow 70, at Attu 1944 or 1945.

In memory of John Haile Cloe

Last updated January 26, 2020