Men unearth pieces of downed WWII fighter plane

A Lockheed P38 Lightning aircraft.

Largest artifacts to go to Selfridge Air National Guard Base’s museum

Four men in Casco Township, Mich., have unearthed pieces of what they say is a World War II-era fighter plane that crashed 71 years ago in a southeastern Michigan farm field.

According to news reports, Jim Clary, his brother, Ben – an 88-year-old WWII veteran – and two other men used metal detectors to make the find earlier this month in St. Clair County. There they uncovered several shards of the plane about 8 inches down in the dirt.

The recovered fragments are from a P-38D Lightning that was piloted by 2nd Lt. Al Voss, a native of Elgin, Ill., assigned to the 94th Pursuit Squadron stationed at Selfridge air base in Michigan, Jim Clary told the Times Herald of Port Huron. Voss was killed trying to parachute from the diving plane on Oct. 15, 1941, the Daily Tribune of Royal Oak reported.

The search and subsequent find were a mission of Jim Clary. As part of his effort to determine the point of impact, Clary, who lived in Richmond as a boy and remembered hearing accounts of the crash, studied copies of investigation documents, old news articles and Google Earth and talked to a 92-year-old woman who witnessed the crash.

The search party then had to wait for a soybean crop to be harvested before they could begin really looking. Clary and his partners plan to give the largest artifacts to a museum at Selfridge Air National Guard Base.

The P-38D was part of the Army Air Force, 94th Pursuit Squadron, which had been stationed at Selfridge. The squadron had camouflaged paint schemes that were identical to the colors found on scraps of aluminum recovered from the crash site.

To learn more about Selfridge, visit the Selfridge Military Air Museum and Air Park, located on Selfridge Air National Guard Base near Mount Clemens, Mich.

 

 

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