Maj Edward “Porky” Cragg

Maj Edward “Porky” Cragg

Birth
New York, USA
Death 26 Dec 1943 (aged 24)
West New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Memorial Site* Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines

* A structure erected in honor of someone whose remains lie elsewhere.

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Memorial ID 126064954 · View Source
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Edward was born in Mount Vernon, New York. He was a student as New York University studying Accounts and Finance when he dropped out to join the Military.

He enlisted at Bridgeport, Connecticut, on November 30, 1940, and was sent to Albany, Georgia, for training, then to Gunter Field, Alabama, fron February until April of 1941 when he moved th the Air Corps Advanced Flying School, Craig Field, Selma, Alabama. On July 11, 1941, Edward was appointed Second Lieutenant in the Air Reserve. On the 12th, he was ordered to active duty.

His next move found him in the Panama Canal Zone as Assistant Squadron Engineering Officer, then Engineering Officer of the 28th Pursuit Squadron, 37th Pursuit Group, Albrook Field, Panama. Spring of 1942, 2nd Lt Cragg was reassigned ti the 80th Pursuit Squadron, 8th Pursuit Group, 5th Air Force. On September 5, 1942, he was promoted to first lieutenant, and on December 17, captain. He became commander of the 80th (now designated) Fighter Squadron on April 8, 1943, and was promoted to major on July 6 of that year. Early on, the unit was assigned P-39 Aerocobras, but took delivery of new Lockheed P-38 Lightnings in December of 1942.

On December 26, 1943, P-38 Lightnings of th 80th Fighter Group, 8th Fighter Squadron, 5th Air Force, departed North Borio Airfield, Dobodura Airstrip Number 15, Oro Province, in Papua New Guinea, flying cover on a bombing mission to Cape Gloucester designated Copper Red Flight. Major Cragg was Flight Leader. The patrol encountered enemy fighter planes and dive bombers over the cape. He radioed that he was experiencing engine trouble and for another pilot to lead the flight. (P-38G and H models were known to have engine trouble at high altitude due to poor cooling systems. This was corrected on the J model.) Remaining in the fight, Cragg pursued a Japanese Aichi D3A "Val" down to 2000 feet. It is unclear if the three-time ace added to his score, but it is believed he was seen still airworthy following the encounter. An eyewitness report indicates that the major was engaged with two Nakajima Ki-44 "Tojos". As one "Tojo was shot down, the second took down the major's P-38H S/N 42-66506, nicknamed "Porky II", and the plane exploded on impact on the western shore of the Borgan Bay, ten miles east of Cape Gloucester, West New Britain, Papau New Guinea. The witness, another P-38 pilot, remained in the area another five minutes after the crash in the event Cragg had escaped the plane prior to the crash, but he saw no canopy and left the area to avoid attack. Spotters claimed to have seen a parachute descending some four miles away. This was likely the major since his was the only plane lost. 6th Army Liason planes and Navy PBYs conducted search patrols in the area, but nothing was found. On January 16, 1946, the pilot's status was changed from Missing in Action to Killed in Action, Body Not Recovered.

Major Cragg had a successful career reaching triple ace, having downed (confirmed) six Kawasaki Ki-61 "Oscars", three Nakajima Ki-43 "Tonys", and six Mitsubishi A6M Zero "Zeros", including one "Zero" on the date of loss.

Decorations awarded include:
Army Distinguished Service Cross
Silver Star
Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters
Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster
Air Medal with one silver oak leaf cluster and one bronze oak leaf cluster

A cenotaph stands in his honor at Fort William McKinley Cemetery (also known as Manila American Cemetery and Memorial)


Inscription

MAJ, 80 AAF FTR SQ, 8 FTR GP WORLD WAR II

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  • Created by: Gone Gravin ?
  • Added: 8 Mar 2014
  • Find a Grave Memorial 126064954
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Maj Edward “Porky” Cragg (8 Sep 1919–26 Dec 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 126064954, citing Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, Manila, Capital District, National Capital Region, Philippines ; Maintained by Gone Gravin ? (contributor 47532541) .