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  B-25D-1 "Shif'less Skonk" Serial Number 41-30021  
5th AF
345th BG
499th BS

Pilot  1st Lt Octave J. Daniel (survived)
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Russsell N. Erum (survived)
Navigator  1st Lt. James T. Bryan (survived)

Force Landed  December 22, 1943
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American as a model B-25D-5. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
On April 1, 1943 assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Squadron. Assigned to pilots Taylor and later Daniel with crew chiefs SSgt Edward J. Cooley Sgt and later Donald E. Thomas.

Nicknamed "Shif'less Skonk" with the nose art of a skunk carrying a bomb on the left side of the nose and a skunk holding a bomb in a different pose on the right side of the nose. A scoreboard with bombs indicating missions flown was on the left side of the nose.

During the middle of 1943 onward, this B-25 flew combat mission over New Guinea by regular crew including pilot 1st Lt. Glenn W. Taylor, co-pilot 2nd Lt Octave J. Daniel and bombardier/navigator 1st Lt. James T. Bryan. This bomber was modified into model D-1 strafer by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field at Townsville.

Mission History
On December 22, 1943 took off from Nadzab Airfield piloted by 1st Lt Octave J. Daniel on a low level mission against Boram Airfield near Wewak.

During the attack, this B-25 was hit by anti-aircraft fire from four anti-aircraft fire from guns near the hospital near Wiruri. The damaged included a large hole in the left flap and the hydraulic system was knocked out. Returning, this bomber was escorted by B-25 piloted by Snyder and attempted to return to base.

During the return flight near Gusap the left engine began to backfire and caught fire and Daniel elected to turn around and make an immediate landing at the emergency strip at Gusap Airfield.

Without hydraulic or electrical power, requiring the landing gear to be lowered by hand cranking them down, but failed to lock into place. When the B-25 touched down, the gear folded but the crew survived unhurt and broke out into laughter once they were safely on the ground.

Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, B-25 piloted by Lt. Snyder landed and transported the crew to Port Moresby. Learning his B-25 was written off, crew chief Thomas broke into tears.

Later, 2nd Lt. Russsell N. Erum went Missing In Action (MIA) piloting B-25D "The Ringmaster" 41-30259 on March 26, 1944

Later, this B-25 was salvaged. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Warpath Over The Pacific page 99-100, 101 (photo), 386
FindAGrave - 1Lt Russell Norman Erum (photo, tablets of the missing photo)

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


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