P38 Crash Lands In Desert North Of Lancaster

P38 Crashes in Desert North of Lancaster

LANCASTER - 12/2/43 - A P-38 fighter plane crashed and burned about six miles north of Lancaster early Tuesday, killing the pilot, Second Lieutenant Norman Frodenberg of Seattle, Washington. Wreckage of the plane was scattered over a wide area.


Date: December 2, 1943

Informant: DINERE, Mrs. Charles, Foley Ranch, Ave. C, Lancaster

Victim: UNKNOWN, 428 Fighter Squadron, Metropolitan Airport, Van Nuys

Location: Avenue C and Highway 6 (Sierra Highway), Lancaster

At 8:48 AM, this date, Informant phoned this station and reported that an airplane had fallen at above location.

Upon arrival found that a P-38 fighter plane had crashed, killing the pilot and scattering parts of the plane over a distance of half a mile. Private Donald Johnson, from Liberty Field - a branch of Polaris Flight Academy and situated a short distance away from the scene of the accident - was in charge of the body and damaged plane and remained so until after the arrival of Lt. Ernest Davis of Liberty Field. At the time of our departure Capt. H.W. Jenkins, Medical Dept., Polaris Field, also inspected the body.

Albert Schocken, civilian instructor, Liberty & Polaris Fields, stated that at 8:45 AM he and some students observed the above plane go into a steep dive and fail to come out of same.

As victim was stationed at Van Nuys, the body was not removed by local mortuary and left in charge of the Army authorities.


We located the remnants of the crashed P-38 in the desert east of Sierra Highway near Avenue C.

We found several engine pieces, instruments and recovered numerous 50 cal. bullets.