Glad to see that the air battle is also addressed in your post. We at least know that this significant battle took place.
WEDNESDAY, 16 JUNE 1943
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) Search aircraft report nearly 250 Japanese airplanes at Rabaul on New Britain Island in the Bismarck Archipelago and other airfields jammed with aircraft. In air action in the Solomon Islands, about 120 Japanese aircraft converging on Allied vessels off Tulagi and Guadalcanal Islands in the Solomon Islands are met by more than 100 Allied fighters (USAAF, Royal New Zealand Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps). The skies over Savo and Tulagi Islands, and Cape Esperance and Koli Point on Guadalcanal Island are filled with dogfights and flak from ship and ground guns. The battle results in the largest single-day Allied aerial victory of the Solomon Islands campaign; 79 airplanes are claimed shot down by Allied fighters, and AA claims 17 more; 6 Allied fighters are lost. The Japanese succeed in damaging 3 ships (2 of which have to be beached) and cause considerable destruction on Guadalcanal Island.
I made the selection of the 67th FS based on the information presented and found during research. For the air battle noted above, the ND communique identified ALL the USAAF arcraft as coming from Henderson Field. References for the 68th FS, though based on Guadalcanal, showed air operations were from Kukum Field, or Fighter 2 Field, not from Henderson Field. This caused me to eliminate it from the possibilities.
You posted conflicting information in regards to the departure of the 67th FS from Henderson Field. On the one hand you stated the “USAAF Chronology says that it returned to its base on New Caledonia Island by April 1943.”…and on the other you posted this;
TUESDAY, 1 JUNE 1943
SOUTH PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS (Thirteenth Air Force) During Jun 43, the 67th Fighter Squadron, 347th Fighter Group which has been operating from Guadalcanal with P-39's since Jan 43, returns to it's base on New Caledonia Island.
Still leaves open the possibility of the 67th FS still having some resources at Henderson Field on 16 June as that entry states “During Jun 43”. Reference for Henderson Field showed the 67th FS assigned thru June of 1943.
68th Fighter Squadron operating P-38s and P-39s from January–December 1943
Questions in regard to Lt Wells still remain but then that was one of the reasons for the posting. Even a slight error in the type of aircraft can throw research off into areas that are not related to the initial question.
Thank you for the response and if you find anything else that can help clear the mystery let us know.
BTW…I’m rather surprised that your source in regards to the aerial victories question didn’t come up with the air battle on the 16th, “the largest single-day Allied aerial victory of the Solomon Islands campaign.”