View Full Version : Who flew the P-38 named "Putt Putt Maro"?

11-17-2006, 02:46 PM
I "googled" but could not find an answer, but I knew yous would know it...

Thanks, Frank

11-17-2006, 02:53 PM

11-17-2006, 03:02 PM
Bless you my son...

and thanks!


11-17-2006, 04:34 PM
Nice find. I've got a few pics of it from the Lone Star Flight Museum. Somebody also did a heck of a nice skin for it for PF too. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


11-17-2006, 08:39 PM
A slight correction: MacDonald was the 5th highest ranking Air Force ace. For some reason, they always leave out the Navy and USMC scorers...


horseback<div class="ev_tpc_signature">

"Here's your new Mustangs, boys. You can learn to fly'em on the way to the target. Cheers!" -LTCOL Don Blakeslee, 4th FG CO, February 27th, 1944

11-17-2006, 11:32 PM
Putt Putt refered to was flown by Col Charles H. McDonald(and Charles A. Lindbergh) of the 475th Fighter Group.

11-18-2006, 12:12 AM
Col. Charles H. MacDonald
C.O. 475th Fighter Group - 27 kill ace


TALLY RECORD: 27 Confirmed
2 Probables
4 1/2 damaged

DECORATIONS: Distinguished Service Cross with one Oak Leaf Cluster
Silver Star with one OLC
Legion of Merit
Distinguished Flying Cross with 5 OLCs,
Air Medal with 10 OLCs
Air Force Commendation Medal.


Charles Henry MacDonald was born in DuBois, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Louisiana State University in 1938. While at school, he developed in interest in becoming a pilot, and passed the required exams for flight training. After graduation, MacDonald went to flight training at Randolph and Kelly Fields in Texas. After finishing training, he was assigned to the 20th Pursuit Group at Barksdale Field in Louisiana, flying P-36's.

His group was later assigned duty in Hawaii in February 1941. The P-36's were loaded onto the Enterprise and the 20th sailed to Hawaii. MacDonald had a unique experience for an Army pilot, he had to takeoff the carrier and land his plane in Hawaii. MacDonald was present for the attack on Pearl Harbor, and managed to get airborne, although only after the attack was over. After flying patrol for an hour and a half, MacDonald and his small group of planes headed back to Hawaii, but encountered a fierce hail of flak from nervous and shaken gunners. MacDonald had to run the gauntlet in order to land his aircraft. He remained in Hawaii until early 1943, and was sent back to the United States to help train a P-47 squadron in Massachusetts.

On October 15, 1943, radar warnings informed controllers that a large force of enemy aircraft was moving towards Dobodura. MacDonald and fifty other P-38's rose to meet the Japanese aircraft. MacDonald raced ahead and pressed an attack on seven Val dive bombers. He quickly downed two Vals, and was concentrating on a third when he was hit hard by a Zero who slipped in behind him unnoticed. With loss of hydraulic pressure, MacDonald had to "belly in." Although he was not hurt, he had learned a valuable lesson. During the course of the battle, the 475th shot down 36 enemy aircraft without the loss of a single P-38!

While he was CO of the 432nd Squadron, MacDonald demonstrated his leadership on an October 25th mission to Rabaul. While leading a formation of P-38's flying escort for some B-24's on a Rabaul strike, heavy weather closed in, and all P-38's except MacDonald's flight turned back. Suddenly, the weather cleared and the formation of B-24's, with hardly an escort, was attacked by Zeros. MacDonald and his flight darted in and out of the bomber formation, clearing the Zekes from the bombers tails. They couldn't spend time finishing off damaged enemy aircraft nor confirming kills. Through their skill and diligence, they prevented many bombers from being shot down. But another pilot could confirm one kill by MacDonald, a Zero, his fourth aerial victory overall. For his actions, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

Macdonald moved up to Group Commander in Nov. 1943, replacing George Prentice who was rotated home. Leading the group for 20 months, Colonel "Mac" flew his P-38, Putt-Putt-Maru, with the unit number "100."
During early April, he led the 475th on missions over the Japanese stronghold of Hollandia, in northwest Guinea; by the end of the month, it had fallen.

In mid 1944, General Kenney arranged for Charles A. Lindbergh to visit and fly with the 475th. He was able to teach the P-38 pilots to increase their operational range by 50%. During his stay with the 475th, he and MacDonald became good friends, and earned MacDonald's respect as an excellent pilot. On one interesting mission on July 28, 1944, he flew on an apparent milk run with MacDonald. However, this "uneventful" mission became a sticky situation. A Japanese fighter broke through their formation and set his sights on Lindbergh's P-38. They were on a collision course, guns blazing from both airplanes, when at the last moment, Lindbergh pulled up. The wounded Japanese fighter could not follow and dove into the sea.

General Paul Wurtsmith put MacDonald on a one month "punitive leave" for allowing the national hero to get into a dangerous situation. 'Mac' returned to the 475th in time to lead the group during the momentous events surrounding the liberation of the Philippines.

Ormoc Missions
Early on the morning of December 7, 1944, MacDonald's orderly entered his small tent, pushed aside the mosquito netting, and shook MacDonald out of his cot. After a miserable breakfast, the pilots headed for the line: the 432nd Squadron in Lightnings with yellow spinners, the 431st with red, and the 433rd with blue. They had been briefed the night before - protect those troops landing at Ormoc Bay.

First sortie
They took off and headed toward Ormoc Bay, 40 miles away. It was 6AM. They reached an altitude of 6,000 feet and circled uneventfully over the massed American ships.
Then MacDonald noticed that he was low on fuel; somehow the plane hadn't been fully gassed for the mission. He radioed Captain Perry "Pee Wee" Dahl, Second Flight Leader, and told him to take over, MacDonald had to return for gas. While MacDonald was getting refueled, he heard the roar of engines in the sky; the American planes returned while he was still there. There had been a sharp dogfight and Pee Wee was shot down; he had been seen bailing out. Other planes also could go back into action.

Second sortie
MacDonald and his exec, Lt. Col. Meryl Smith, joined another flight of P-38s and headed back to cover the landing area. At 11:18, they spotted the enemy planes, three Jacks - speedy new fighters. MacDonald and Smith went after them, full throttle, as the Japs split up. MacDonald pursued one that went into the clouds (as described above) and he eventually shot it down.During MacDonald's hide-and-seek in the clouds, Smith had downed another of the Jacks, and after the third one got on MacDonald's tail, Smith knocked it down as well. After a few more minutes of patrolling, they headed back to Dulag. It was only noon and MacDonald had already completed two combat sorties.

Third sortie
For the third mission of Dec. 7, only four planes could go up, including MacDonald and Smith. They headed for Ormoc, and kept to 4,000 feet so that they could intercept any kamikazes. After they flew over the U.S. ships and found no aerial opposition, they continued on, heading for some Japanese ships to the north. Suddenly "Bandits! Behind!" The Lightnings broke and pulled the tightest turns they could. The Zeros and Jacks flashed through the P-38 formation. MacDonald and his wingman turned into one of the Zeros. The cannon and the fifties shook Putt-Putt-Maru and tore into the lightweight Zero. Huge chunks of the target ripped off and sailed backward. It plunged stright down, streaming white smoke and vapor. The pilot didn't get out before the plane splashed into the ocean below. MacDonald had scored his second victory of the day.

He shortly noticed a Zero diving onto a Lightning's tail, possibly Smith's. MacDonald pursued, caught up to the Zero undetected, lined up a 40 degree deflection shot, and fired. Immediately the Zero began to smoke, MacDonald kept firing to within point-blank range, and the Zero came apart -- the tail and rear fuselage fell right away from the forward fuselage and wings. But Smith's plane was nowhere to be found.

As MacDonald scoured the skies for Smith, another Zero and two Lightnings appeared. MacDonald was closest, and took up the chase. But the Zero pilot was good, outturning MacDonald consistently. Repeatedly, as he would close for a kill, the other guy would pull a tighter turn than the big Lightning could handle, and then he would slip away a little further toward his base at Negros. But the other two American pilots eventually took advantage of the wily enemy's turns. As the Zero pilot tried another (his last) climbing turn, Lt. Leo Blakely, in one of the P-38s, fastened onto him and shot him down. With the Zero accounted for, MacDonald headed back to cover the U.S. convoy. He helplessly witnessed a kamikaze crash into an American warship and then circled over the area where Smith was last seen. He and a couple other pilots searched as long as

11-18-2006, 12:44 AM
Ya gotta love "Putt,Putt,Maru"!


A pic my wife took of "Putt-Putt",and some idiot http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/partyhat.gif when she was at the Lone Star Flight Museum.
I hear "Putt Putt's..." in Florida now. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-sad.gif<div class="ev_tpc_signature">


Lyrics from Naked Raygun's "Rat Patrol".
"What we need to take control,we could use the Rat Patrol.What's that coming over the dune?...
Chasing the halftracks across the sandflats,got a nice pine box,for that desert fox,machine guns blaring,and Arabs staring wondering why,the Westerners are