On December 26, 1942, Pilot Officer J.S. Archer of the RAAF and his observer, Sergeant J.F. Coulston, were on a tactical reconnaissance mission off the coast of Gona, Papua New Guinea, when Coulston spotted a what he thought was a Japanese A6M Zero approximately 1,000 feet below the Australians’ CAC Wirraway, a license-built derivative of the North American Aviation NA-16 trainer. Unlike its American predecessor, the Wirraway was armed with two Vickers .303 machine guns, which Archer proceeded to fire after diving on the Japanese aircraft. As the Wirraway pulled away from the “Zero”, the enemy aircraft was seen crashing into the sea. Upon landing at the Popondetta airstrip, Archer ran to the control tent, and exclaimed to Captain Alan Oliver Watson, “Sir, sir, I think I've shot down a Zero!” Watson is said to have responded, “don't be silly, Archer, Wirraways can't shoot down Zeros”. However, Australian army personnel from the 2/14th and 2/16th Battalions who witnessed the attack quickly called Watson and confirmed that the Wirraway had, indeed, shot down a Zero. For his achievement, Archer was awarded the US Silver Star for, as the citation states, “doing the impossible - shooting down a Zero and bringing home his observer to tell the tale.” However, a post war investigation revealed that it was a Nakajima Ki-43-II Hayabusa that was shot down by the Wirraway, not an A6M Zero. Nevertheless, the December 1942 downing of the Japanese fighter was the only time a Wirraway shot down an enemy aircraft.