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  B-25D-1 "Doodle Jr." Serial Number 41-30164  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
499th BS

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345th BG c1943

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345th BG c1943
Pilot  1st Lt. Edward L. Reel (rescued) Los Angeles, CA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. Charles Yackiw (rescued)
Navigator  1st Lt. Robert E. Driscoll (rescued)
Radio  SSgt Corydon M. Johnson (rescued)
Gunner  SSgt Rosaire A. Dubois (rescued)
Ditched  September 19, 1944
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Constructors Number 87-8329. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-5 Mitchell serial number 41-30164. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia.

Wartime History
This aircraft was converted to a B-25D-1 strafer at the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville. Assigned to the 345th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Squadron on August 7, 1943. Assigned to 1st Lt. Kenneth D. McCulure with crew chief Salzman. Nicknamed "Doodle, Jr." with the "Bats Outta Hell" motif painted on the nose. Previously, McCulure was the co-pilot of B-25D "Doodle" 41-30015. Later added to the nose art was "Bluto" from the Popeye cartoon and the crew's nickname "The Brutes".

Mission History
On September 19, 1944 took off piloted by 1st Lt. Edward L. Reel on a mission against Sidate Airfield on Celebes. Nearing the island, this B-25 experienced an oil leak and aborted the mission. When the oil drained out, the engine became hot and was shut down but the propeller could not be feathered. The bomber quickly lost altitude before ditching 30 miles west of Halmahera Island into the Molucca Sea. Afterwards the B-25 sank before the crew could deploy the life rafts.

Rescue
Thirty minutes after ditching, a B-24 Liberator piloted by Lt. Harry E. Pennington, Jr. returning from the same mission spotted marker dye released by the downed crew and dropped a life raft to the crew and radioed their location to air-sea rescue then circled them for two hours. Three hours after their ditching, a PBY Catalina rescued the entire crew.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-5 Mitchell 41-30164
The Evening Times "Reveal Dramatic Rescue Of Airmen from Pacific" October 7, 1944, page 1
"Headquarters, 5th Air Force, Southwest Pacific, Oct. 7 (UP) Another dramatic rescue of airmen forced down at sea was disclosed here today as Lt. Edward L. Reel, Los Angeles, Related how a Liberator bomber hovered over his downed B-25 crew for more than two hours until a navy Catalina flying boat could be summoned to their aid. Reel crash-landed his Mitchell bomber while returning from an attack on the Celebes. The Liberator, piloted by Lt. Harry E. Pennington, Jr., Krypton, KY., dropped a life raft to the B-25 crewmen and flashed distress signals to an air-sea rescue unit."
Warpath Across The Pacific pages 190-191, 193 (color photo), 387

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Last Updated
September 20, 2019

 

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B-25

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