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  B-25C "Pistoff" Serial Number 41-12830  
5th AF
38th BG
71st BS

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38th BG c1942

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Don Silcock October 2009

Pilot  1st Lt William R. Lett (survived)
Co-Pilot  1st Lt Mortie M. Marks (survived)
Navigator  1st Lt John B. Johnson (survived)
Bombardier  2nd Lt Gustave R. Rau (survived)
Engineer  S/Sgt Joe G. Maupin (survived)
Radio  T/Sgt Thoedore J. Bokoles (survived)
Gunner  S/Sgt William W. Holmes (survived)

Ditched  January 8, 1943

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Constructors number 82-5462. Assigned to the 38th Bombardment Group, 71st Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Pistoff" in white lettering on the left and right side of the nose. On the right side below the cockpit was "Butch".

Mission History
On January 8, 1943 one of six B-25s from the 71st Bombardment Squadron B-25s plus six B-25s from the 405th Bombardment Squadron that took off from Port Moresby on a mission to attack a convoy off Lae. Over the target, attacked by five A6M2 Zeros and was hit in the right engine which was feathered.

This B-25 proceeded down the north coast of New Guinea seeking a place to land. Running out of fuel, ditched into Collingwood Bay, close to shore near Wanigela mission at Wanigela. During the landing, one crew member was slightly injured, the rest survived unhurt. Villagers paddled out to assist the crew, and attempted to dive down to the aircraft.

Fates of the Crew
After the crash, the crew were flown from Wanigela Airfield back to Port Moresby and returned to duty.

This B-25 remains intact underwater, and is occasionally dived by tourists from Tufi Resport.

Don Silcock dove the wreck in October 2009:
"I was diving the B25 at the end of a long day out - couple of hours from Tufi to Boga Boga, then diving B-17F "Black Jack" and then a couple of hours to Wanigella followed by an hour searching for the B-25, then about 2m viz, so I was quite pleased with the results given the conditions. Overall the plane is in quite good condition given the environment it's in with all the siltation, the cockpit is missing though but the rest is all there as I recall it."

Another source incorrectly lists this B-25 as scrapped January 9, 1945
38th BG, HQ, "Performance of B25 Aircraft of 38th Bomb Group During 18 Months of Combat in New Guinea." March 29, 1944. "B-25C    41-12830 “Pistoff”-Crashed at Wanigela Mission, N.G. 1/8/43 after being badly shot up attacking enemy convoy at Lae, N.G."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12830
Dive Tufi - SCUBA diving - Pistoff B25
Thanks to Larry Hickey and Don Silcock for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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