“The cameras were rolling when I was startled by a series of sharp staccato sounds. My P-38 twin-engine reconnaissance airplane, the “Lightening,” quivered a bit as I made a hurried check of the engine instruments. Everything seemed normal. Suddenly a long jagged tear appeared in the port-engine cowling. An instant later a puff of black smoke shot out from the hole, followed by a burst of flame. Instinctively I sent The Lightening into a screaming dive with throttles wide open; only then did I dare sneak a glance at the rearview mirror. I was afraid to look…..but afraid not to. Turning my head, I stared straight into the flaming snout of a twin-engine enemy fighter.
And so it began.
The Japanese pilot saw Fred parachute down but did not shoot him. It was a crucial decision. It also seemed the Japanese pilot never told his ground forces, who were in total control of the area. Years later, Lt. Hargesheimer traced the Japanese pilot to his home in Japan. But found the pilot suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and cold not communicate with him.