Assigned to 1Lt Keith Kitts of 379th Fighter squadron who flew his first combat mission on 10th February 1944 escorting the heavy bombers into the target at Brunswick. As yet unconfirmed, the mission was probably flown in this aircraft as part of 379FS's Red Flight. One 362FG Thunderbolt was lost that day and another was crashlanded on the English coast but Kitts returned safely.
The serial number of "Loko" is not yet known but may have been 42-75711. This was the aircraft that Kitts flew on the day he was shot down, 11th April 1944, while flying a strafing mission near Rouen, France. Hit by flak, he was seen attempting to bail out, standing in his cockpit he was caught by the tremendous slipstream and hurled back against the tail fin and to his death.
© Ray Bowden 22 February 2024