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P-59 A data plate and relics from crash site


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P-59A data plate from a crash site in the Mojave. This was the first crash site I had been to that had not been found or visited in 70 years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Looks like an interesting hunt! I would like to hear more about the story, how you came to find the plane, how you found the next of kin etc! Thanks for sharing!

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A friend (Pat Macha) had received the mishap report from a friend of his. I plotted the info on a map program I have and we went out to the Mojave and walked a picket line spread out about 50 yards apart. Pat was on the far left and his son on the far right and I was in the middle. I had us start the walk too far out, but after some hiking Pat walked right up on it.

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Finding the next of kin took me four years. I had found a Canadian "V" nickel at the crash site. I requested Lt.Murdocks file and found his parents were Canadian. I learned Lt. Murdock had a sister, but at the time she was still single and I figured she most likley had gotten married since that time. I had no idea of what her last name might be. Lt. Murdock was single at the time of his death and insurance was paid to his parents. I normally ask the operator for a list of people with that last name from the state and county he came from and just make cold calls. After years and years of going from county to county I was comming up with nothing. I called a Canadan news magazine and asked for help. They ran the story and a geniologist in Canada came up with a lead and contacted me. Sure as heck his sister had married and had a son. I contacted Lt. Murdoch's nephew who had known his uncle as a kid. I returned the personnel effects to him.

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Bell Aircraft only made 20 P-59 A's. This was the last one made before they started up on the "B" model. The crash was two P-59 A's in a mid air mishap that caused both to crash killing both pilots. As far as I know this was the first time two jets had mid aired in the U.S. We found both points of impact and the point of the mid air. They were on a secret mission to train AA on how to track and shoot down jets during WW 2. All of the first jet pilots in all branch's of service had stick time in the P-59 before moving into the P-80. On a side note Richard Bongs P-80 crash site still exists. I went to it two years ago.

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I just happened upon this thread. It's all very interesting. Thanks for putting in the detective work to find the NOK!

Kim

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/3/2021 at 9:29 AM, kfields said:

I just happened upon this thread. It's all very interesting. Thanks for putting in the detective work to find the NOK!

Kim

Well thanks, truth be known I like digging paper as much as I do hiking or digging dirt.

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