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Extra resources for 421st Night Fighter Squadron in WWII
Col. William Odell, a night fighter commander, would later recall the feelings that pilots had about the P-61: At last the USAAF had the ideal night fighter. The first of its kind, the P-61 was designed with a single purpose in mind, making it the most powerful and deadliest fighter plane ever produced.
The thought of a complete SCR-27 radio set free for the taking was very appealing. Back at Nadzab, Lt. Blanchard talked to T/Sgt. DelaGardelle about the A-20 in the river. They set out down the road between Lae and Nadzab to a point nearest the crash. They then began to chop a path through the jungle with their machetes. After about an hour of fruitless chopping they called it quits. They estimated that they had only made it about forty feet into the jungle with hundreds of feet yet to go. After careful consideration they then came up with a new plan that might work better.
The other boats also started spreading smoke to hide them, but for some reason my boat's tank would not work. We all made it back home safe. Pilots, too, were not left out, as Lt. Malone recounts: They would draw names of the pilots out of a hat to pick two men who would go on a mission with a PT boat. I happened to be one of the lucky ones. I thought it might be a nice trip, and maybe I would see some action. They operated out of Dreger Harbor. We went to the PT boat base that was one mile south of the strip.
421st Night Fighter Squadron in WWII