Elmendorf’s Lightning

A restored P-38G Lightning fighter from World War II now sits on permanent display near the 3rd Wing headquarters building at JB Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, announced base officials. This airframe is “the world’s last example of a P-38G Lightning,” according to their Oct. 3 release. The airplane, which went on display in July, was assigned to the 54th Fighter Squadron at Elmendorf Field during the latter stages of the war. In January 1945 during a training mission, 2nd Lt. Robert Nesmith was forced to make a wheels-up landing with it in a snow-covered valley on Attu Island in the Aleutian chain. While maintenance crews stripped the airplane of parts, the airframe was otherwise unrecoverable at the time, so it sat abandoned for the more than 50 years until 1998 when a team from Elmendorf set off to recover it, according to the release. In March of 2000, the 3rd Wing let the contract for construction of the memorial site at which the airplane now rests. (Elmendorf report by SSgt. Robert Barnett)