On 15 November 1944, a P-47D-21RE, “Gabby’s Louise,” # 42-25383, assigned to 10th Air Force, 33rd Fighter Group, 58th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Moran, Assam, India, on a combat mission over the Mala-Zigon Road. It was seen to crash by 1stLt Wesley U. Johnston, 0-792712, and 2ndLt Irwin D. Westerberg, 0-821882, after a mid-air collision with another P-47 at about 1455 hours near Mala, Burma. The pilot was 1stLt Joseph A. Garbarino, # 0-795587, flight leader. One parachute was seen.
GARBARINO, JOSEPH ATTILIO, First Lieutenant, # 0-795587, USAAF
Joseph A. Garbarino was born on 24 January 1920 in Manhattan, New York, to Giovanni (Joseph) Devisaderio “John” Garbarino (1885-1960) and Adelgisa (Casazza) Garberino (1894-1975). Siblings included Anna Enrichetta Garbarino (1913-1994), Enrico “Henry” Garbarino (1915-1984), Claudio Angelo Garbarino (1917-1991), and Alice M. (Garbarino) Vipiano (1929- ). He was married to Louise (Caron) Garbarino. They had a son and a daughter.
He enlisted in the USAAF at Camp Upton, Yaphank, New York, on 3 March 1942. He completed flight instruction through advanced schools and earned his commission and pilot wings as a fighter pilot. On 15 November 1944, a P-47D-21RE, “Gabby’s Louise,” # 42-25383, assigned to 10th Air Force, 33rd Fighter Group, 58th Fighter Squadron, departed the airfield at Moran, Assam, India, on a combat mission over the Mala-Zigon Road. It was seen to crash by 1stLt Wesley U. Johnston, 0-792712, and 2ndLt Irwin D. Westerberg, 0-821882, after a mid-air collision with another P-47 at about 1455 hours near Mala, Burma. The pilot was 1stLt Joseph A. Garbarino, # 0-795587, flight leader. One parachute was seen. 2ndLt Westerberg reported that at 16,000’, the flight of four dropped their wing tanks and then dive toward the town of Mala. He was on Lt. Garbarino’s right wing. He heard Lt. Johnston tell his wingman, Lt. Davis, to cross over to the right of element 1. At about 7,000’ he saw a P-47 at about his seven o’clock with its tail disintegrating. He did not see the collision. He pulled out of his dive and leveled off at about 5,000’ until he saw Lt. Johnston’sa P-47 make a sharp left turn. Someone said to rejoin at 4,000’ so he pulled behind Lt. Johnston. He was watching the ground and trying to pick up Lt. Johnston. He did not see either P-47 crash. He did see both burning, one just south of Mala and the other north of Mala, close to the river. He heard Lt. Johnston calling him but, could not be heard. He saw a parachute drifting to land on the west side of the river. He turned NNW and called Stoker to see if he could contact Lt. Johnston. He could not. He flew to Ledo airfield (“Meatball”) and landed at Moran. 1stLt Johnston reported that when near the target, Lt. Garbarino called the flight to drop wing tanks. A right dive was begun with Lt. Garbararino lead, Lt. Westerberg on Garbarino’s right wing, then Johnston leading the left element with Lt. Davis as # 4 man. The dive was from 16,000’ to about 7,000’, and a left turn was started. Johnston throttled back to “20 inches”, airspeed 380 MPH. As the lead element turned left to avoid over-running the other, he led the element under and behind and to the right of the lead element. He told Lt. Davis to cross to the right as their pass was to be toward the left. Lt. Davis over-ran and went above Lt. Johnston, from Johnston’s position to the right of the # 2 P-47 of the other element. He saw Lt. Davis collide with Lt. Garabino. Lt. Garabino started spinning and crashed. He called the flight to circle and hold altitude. He did not see Davis or Garabino bail out. One parachute was seen. He tried calling Lt. Westerberg, Stoker, Barnum and Hardtack, but received no answer. He reached Hardtack then Seaboard (ground stations). He gave the location of the crash, number of aircraft and where one parachute landed. He flew to Ledo airfield and landed at Moran. After recovery from the American military airfield cemetery at Barrackpore, India, his remains were buried in the Long Island National Cemetery, East Farmingdale, New York, on 22 March 1949 (Sec. J, Grave 14480).