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Letter/Number Codes On An L4A Grasshopper

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    Letter/Number Codes On An L4A Grasshopper

    I rebuilt this a/c back in 1994 and finished it in the standard wartime factory olive drab scheme. I did not apply any coding and have so far been unable to ascertain anything about its wartime sojourn in Honolulu.
    Piper L4A serial No 9042
    USAAC serial No 42-38455
    Recieved by USAAC 30/6/42
    To San Fransisco 30/6/42
    Assigned op "Maestro"11/7/42
    No further entries on card until:-
    Excluded Inventory list 1/6/46 at Oahu Island, Hawaii.
    To American civil register as Piper J3C-65, Registration NC62052 to
    Stanley Sobihan 2/6/46
    Colby Jones 1/7/72
    Thomas Hauptman 7/5/76
    Cancelled from register /6/81 as exported to New Zealand.
    If anyone can provide further info on the wartime service and any unit markins or insignias that it may have had applied I would be most grateful.

    #2
    I suspect you could find out the units involved in "Maestro" and go from there...if nothing else make an educated guess. If it stayed in Hawaii, it could have been a base or unit hack. Unlike those used in the ETO by the U.S. Army and USAAF, Or don't think Pacific operations have been well documented...or at least I haven't seen them.

    If you can't find anything definitive, you can mark it anyway you like, as L-4s were reasonably ubiquitous.
    There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

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      #3
      Being somewhat of a stickler for authenticity, I would prefer it to retain its own identity. It stayed in the pacific, so "D Day " invasion stripes would be quite inappropriate. As far as I have been able to find , the ship it was on was delayed in San Fran and arrived too late in Honolulu to participate in "Maestro" and was appropriated by the C.O. of Hickham as his personal runabout, so probably never carried any unit markings.

      Comment


        #4
        I completely agree and applause your choice. I wasn't suggesting (overused) invasion stripes or (equally overused and cliche) gaudy noseart.
        What I was saying is you may have to settle for unit codes of the units involved in the operation and a random aircraft identifier or perhaps a base code, if there was one, if it stayed in Hawaii as a hack.
        If all else fails, then factory fresh scheme.
        There are two sides to every story. The truth is usually somewhere between the two.

        Comment


          #5
          Further to the above it would appear that it was attached to the headquarters , 7th Airforce and was probably only a base aircraft although the 7th did move out to the shooting war later.

          Comment


            #6
            Hi Stan,

            How interesting that you mention D-Day. It makes perfect sense that D-Day Invasion Stripes on an aircraft that only served in the Pacific would be inappropriate. But what if there was some direct connection between that aircraft and D-Day?

            What if I told you I think the man that pranged your plane flew as co-pilot in the lead bomber for the entire 8th Air Force on D-Day? And a few months later he ends up at Hickam, as Ops Officer!


            L-4A 42-38455 assigned to HQ, Seventh Air Force. Landing Accident at Hickam Field on 3rd of April, 1945. Pilot John T. Goss. Damage listed as Cat 4 = Destroyed.

            https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/wiki.php?id=115068

            http://www.aviationarchaeology.com/s...y/Apr1945S.htm

            Comment


              #7
              Here is an obit for a John Townsend Goss who passed away in 2012 that I think must be the guy who pranged your plane. I would like to have met this man.

              http://obits.staradvertiser.com/2013...wnsend-goss-2/

              That obit links to an interview with John T. Goss from 2000 that has a lot of interesting details.

              http://www.outriggercanoeclubsports....-Goss-2000.pdf

              He was a 17 year old senior in high school in Honolulu on Dec. 7th, 1941. That caused him to join the new Aviation Cadet Program. He ended up flying 30 missions in B-24s over Germany and France. As he was packing up to go back to the U.S. he was offered the chance to co-pilot the lead bomber of the 8th Air Force on D-Day. After that he was transferred back to the U. S. as an instructor pilot in Idaho, but thought it was too dangerous and volunteered for the Pacific. When he arrived at Oahu he was offered the job of Operations Officer and was put in charge of the military aircraft at Hickam. BINGO!

              The obit lists family members, and who knows what photos or logbooks they might have. Maybe even a picture of Dad with the plane he crashed at Hickam.

              Best of luck on your search, Ill post anything else I find.

              Comment


                #8
                That's wonderful news. Thaks for that. I will try to contact the family as they may be interested to know at least one of his steeds can still gallop (or in the case of the Cub trot-- no make that amble)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great ongoing story!
                  Do17 recovery fund
                  Since 2004 dedicated to researching Do-17, 1000+ period photos, manuals, history, technology to put aircraft in perspective.

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