2nd Lt. Wayne V. Liggins was a member of the 301st Fighter Squadron of the 332nd Fighter Group and was stationed at Ramitelli Air Base, Foggia, Italy. On March 9, 1944, Liggins was on a routine training mission flying a Bell P-39 Airacobra, considered to be a good low altitude (below 10,000 feet) fighter, preparing to upgrade to the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, a heavier, higher altitude fighter capable of escorting bombers to their targets. Although not as maneuverable as the Airacobra, the Thunderbolt had a more powerfull, turbocharged engine and was more versatile in its capabilities. Unfortunately, they wouldn't arrive until late spring or early summer, 1944.
Upon returnig to Ramitelli from Montecorvino, Liggins experienced engine difficulties and while descending the engine quit. He attempted a force landing but stalled and spun-in near the Anzio beachhead.