Actually an F-5E, the reconnaissance variant of the Lockheed P-38 Lightning. This particular aircraft, sporting Luftwaffe markings, was stolen by American pilot Martin James Monti when he defected to the German side during WWII.

Monti left his base in Karachi, Pakistan on October 13, 1944, hitched a ride aboard a Curtiss C-46 Commando to Cairo, and from there he traveled to Italy via Tripoli. He stole the plane from the 354th Air Service Squadron and flew it to Milan, where he surrendered it to the Germans and defected. Monti became a member of the SS, achieved the rank of lieutenant, and participated in radio propaganda broadcasts to the United States and to American troops in Europe under the pseudonym Captain Martin Wiethaupt. After the German surrender, he returned to Italy and turned himself in at the Fifth Army Headquarters, still wearing his SS uniform.

Monti was court-martialed and sentenced to 15 years in prison for stealing the plane and for desertion, but was pardoned after less than a year and allowed to rejoin the Army as a private. In 1948, having achieved the rank of sergeant, he was given a general discharge under honorable conditions, but was promptly arrested by the FBI, as his activities in Germany had become known. Ultimately, Monti was tried for treason and sentenced to 25 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He was paroled in 1960, and died in 2000.


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