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  B-25D-1 Mitchell Serial Number 41-30255  
5th AF
38th BG
405th BS

Pilot  1st Lt. Charles E. Barber, O-725575 (MIA / KIA) Omaha, NE
 2nd Lt Richard R. Vogel O-734282 (MIA / KIA) PA
Navigator  2nd Lt Thomas H. Boots O-733136 (MIA / KIA) PA
 T/Sgt John H. Martin, Jr., 34334379 (MIA / KIA) AL
Gunner  Sgt Harvey C. Noren, 17026724 (MIA / KIA) MN

MIA  September 2, 1943
MACR  13287

Aircraft History
Built by North American as model B-25D-10. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to Australia.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 38th Bombardment Group, 405th Bombardment Squadron. No known nose art or nickname. Converted to a strafer variant (B-25D-1) by the 4th Air Depot at Garbutt Field near Townsville.

Mission History
On September 2, 1943 took off from 17 Mile Drome (Durand) near Port Moresby piloted 1st Lt. Charles E. Barber at at 7:00am armed with two 1,000 pound bombs on a mission to attack Japanese shipping in Wewak Harbor off Wewak. The 405th Bombardment Squadron was leading the attack, and proceeded to Marilinan and circled for thirty minutes before rendezvousing with escorting P-38 Lightnings then proceeded up the Ramu Valley bound for Wewak. South of the Prince Alexander Mountains, the B-25 formation split into two plane elements for bombing and strafing runs.

The 405th Bombardment Squadron approached Wewak Harbor from inland dropping to minimum altitude over Boram Airfield and was targeted by anti-aircraft fire and the Japanese vessels each had a barrage balloon roughly 10' in diameter at a height of 400' above each ship. A total of thirty-six Japanese fighters from the 13th Sentai, 24th Sentai, 59th Sentai (Ki-43 Oscars) and 68th Sentai (Ki-61 Tonys) took off to intercept the American formation.

Eight Zekes [sic Oscars] and Tonys attacked the 405th Bombardment Squadron's first flight led by Captain Garrett Middlebrook bombed and strafed a "Fox Able" (Japanese merchant vessel 5,500-7,500 tons with 3 masts or more, likely Nagato Maru) anchored east of Cape Boram in Boram Bay and claimed a single a near miss with a 1,000 pound bomb and claimed a Zeke [sic, Oscar] shot down.

The second flight led by B-25D "Tokyo Sleeper" 41-12905 piloted by 1st Lt. Roy Gover and this B-25 as wingman attacked the same Fox Able (likely Nagato Maru) and claimed two 1,000 pound bomb hits that left the vessel burning and sinking.

After departing the target area, this bomber was attacked by two Japanese fighters roughly fifteen miles southeast of Wewak, approximately ten miles out to sea. At the time, Lt. Barber was flying in the wing position for Lt. Grover, and was pulling into formation at a low altitude. The airplane was seen to hit the water with its right wing, which caused the aircraft to cartwheel and sink.

When this B-25 failed to return, it was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA). Also lost were B-25D 41-30319 (MIA) and B-25D 41-30247 (MIA) and P-38H 42-66563 (MIA). The Japanese lost four fighters shot down and two pilots killed in action (KIA).

Missing Air Crew Report 13287 (MACR 13287)
38th Bombardment Group Official History, page 165-175 (167) "Lt. Barber, flying wing for Lt. Grover, was shot down by two unidentified enemy fighters approximately 15 miles southeast of Wewak and about ten miles off shore. At the time, Lt. Barber was pulling into formation and was flying low over the water. His plane was last seen to hit the water with its right wing cutting the water first causing the plane to cartwheel and sink."
"The wing tip of Barber's B-25 hit the water and the plane cartwheeled and sank"
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles E. Barber
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Richard R. Vogel
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Thomas H. Boots
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - John H. Martin Jr.
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Harvey C. Noren
FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles E Barber (photo, obituary, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 2Lt Richard R Vogel
FindAGrave - 2Lt Thomas H Boots (photo, tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - TSgt John H Martin, Jr (tablets of the missing)
FindAGrave - Sgt Harvey C Noren (tablets of the missing)
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25D Mitchell 41-30255
Tuluvu's Air War, Chapter 5 by Richard Dunn
Saga of the Sun Setters Volume I, page 158-159
Thanks to Richard Dunn and Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 4, 2018


Tech Info

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Tech Info
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