P-38 Combat Stats
The P-38 Lightning was one of the few American aircraft that was produced before Pearl Harbor and continued in service after the victory over Japan (VJ Day). In all, 10,003 P-38s were built by Lockheed at a typical cost of $97,100 apiece.
In the Pacific Theater of Operations, the P-38 was credited with downing nearly 1,700 Japanese fighters, transports, bombers, sea planes and Kamikazes from 1942-1945. bout 160 American pilots were able to proclaim themselves “Ace” while flying and fighting in the twin-engine, twin-boom fighter around the globe.
In April of 1943, 16 P-38s flew almost 450 miles (one way) over open ocean at wave-top height on a sneak attack mission to intercept a pair of Betty Bombers, one of them containing the “architect” of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. After the shooting had stopped, the wreckage of two smoldering Japanese bombers along with a pair of Zero escorts lay on the ocean and jungle floor below.