GUADALCANAL, 6 Jan, 1944 – (AP) – Major Gregory ‘Pappy’ Boyington of Okanogan, Wash., was officially credited today with shooting down his 26th Japanese plane to tie the record set by a fellow Marine, Major Joe Foss.
Boyington, a former member of the “Flying Tigers” in China, got his 26th in a raid on Rabaul, New Britain, three days ago. More than 50 fighters participating in the sweep over the Rapopo airdrome shot down six of 20 intercepting Zeros, with five more listed as probables. Two Corsairs were lost.
The 30-year-old flyer, leading ace in both the south and southwest Pacific sectors, brought down his 25th enemy plane December 26 over Rabaul. On December 28, he hit a Japanese plane but it was listed only as a probable since it was not seen to crash.
May Have Total of 40
Other members of his “Black-Sheep” squadron have expressed belief that Boyington destroyed 40 Zeros in all. However, only those seen to crash, explode or burn have been listed on his confirmed score.
Got Six With Tigers
Boyington’s 26-plane mark includes a score of six which he rolled up while a member of the Flying Tigers.
He participated in a fighter strike against Rabaul December 2 in which 15 and probably 19 Japanese aircraft altogether were destroyed by Marine and Navy flyers. Delayed reports said, however, that he failed to make contact with the enemy. He returned the next day to attain the record mark.