I'm looking for additional biographical information about Ed Liebolt. All I've been able to uncover is that is was from Camden,
Ohio, graduated from Miami University in Ohio, flew with the Army, and then
flew with the AVG's 1st Pursuit Squadron before going missing in February
I'm also looking for any information about "his" aircraft. There is a picture of it in the Osprey Aces book, but it only shows his name under the cockpit. There is another shot of it online in service with the 74 FS, but again it only shows the cockpit area. Anyone know which side number it carried
Robert M. Smith's book "With Chennault in China - A Flying Tiger's Diary" contains a listing of the first 100 P-40Bs which includes AVG #, Sqdn. # (side # on the fuselage), assigned pilot, Curtiss Seq. #, Curtiss Ser. #, Date Delivered to Toungoo, Date Test flown, and name of the Delivery Pilot.
No a/c is listed as being assigned to Ed Leibolt. However, he did deliver two a/c to Toungoo from Mingladon Airdrome, near Rangoon, after assembly & testing:
Edward J. Leibolt, a P-40 pilot from the US Army Air Corps, is credited with 0.25 aerial victory and left San Francisco on Thursday, July 24, 1941 aboard the Dutch liner Bloemfontein, arriving in Rangoon on September 15, reaching the AVG base at Kyedaw Airfield near Toungoo later that night.
Charlie Bond's book indicates that Leibolt did not return from a mission over Rangoon on 2/25/42.
The aircraft with Liebolt's name painted on it survived its time with the First Pursuit Squadron, moved on to the Third Pursuit Squadron, and then was operated by the 74FS. (And I am no leaning toward "his" aircraft being #22) Like most squadrons in combat, pilots flew whatever was available, and I assume the Liebolt was lost in a different aircraft. I think it was very common for AVG pilots not to be flying "their" aircraft.
Thanks for clarifying the situation. The photo referenced confirms Leibolt, then 3rd
Pursuit Sqdn, then pilot Turner of the 74FS. Your comments about "Turner's dilemma" are spot on, with nice followup of 2nd photo and comments from Turner's
This certainly demonstrates how the pilots used different a/c, especially due to rotating schedules, maintenance requirements, etc.
Edward Leibolt was reported as missing Feb. 26, 1942. According to the AVG they never found him. But if you read "Flying Tigers" by Russell Whelan, 1944 edition, page 164, it reads, ". . . Weeks later Chinese searching parties found the body of an American pilot at point one hundred miles from where a Tomahawk had crashed. Positive identification was not possible." Upon reading the AVG Diary it say that Bob Neale and R. H. Smith stayed in Rangoon to search for Leibolt (At this time the AVG was abandoning Rangoon) Rangoon is a little over 150 miles from Chiang Mai. So the body they found could possible be Leiboltâ€™s. In fact Iâ€™m pretty sure.
Sorry it took so long to reply.
For years I have had a theory about what happened to Leibolt. I
Leibold was on a mission to strafe Moulmein, Burma (now occupied by the enemy) with 6 others on February 26, 1942 from Rangoon. He never returned, and there was a search for him fir one hour. It is 87 miles from Rangoon to Moulmein. A month later on March 24 Bob Neale led a flight of 6 from Kunming, on a retaliatory raid to Chiengmai, Thailand. After the raid they headed for headed for home. That’s when Billy McGarry’s plane, being hit had to bale out. The next is an excerpt from the first AVG book, “The Flying Tigers, “ by Russell Whelan, 1942.
“...The ‘revenge’ strafing of Cheingmail had been achieved at a bitter cost. What happened to ‘Black Mac’ McGarry the Tigers were never to learn. The Japs did not broadcast a report of this capture. Weeks later Chinese searching parties ground a body of an American pilot at a point on hundred miles from where a Tomahawk had crashed. Positive identification was not possible.”
Rangoon is 173 miles from Moulmein to Chiengmai. In my mind it is very possible for him to be at that location where the Chinese found and “American” pilot.
I came to my conclusions with the help of Olga’s Journal, Whelan’s book and the help of the mileage charts of the aforementioned mileages.
Thanks, Bob. This would certainly give a possible solution to the mystery of Edward Leibolt, the former USAAF P-40 pilot of the 1st Pursuit Squadron who was never found following his bailout due to mechanical problems.
Ed can be seen in the well-known photo of several "Adam & Eve" pilots (Bond, Brown Rosbert, Leibolt, Louis "Cokey" Hoffman & others) huddled around squadron leaders Sandell (1st) & Olson (3rd) plus Col. Chennault next to a map on the ground.
Did the Chinese bury the unidentifiable remains of the American pilot?