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  B-25D-25 "Little Joe" Serial Number 42-87281  
5th AF
71st TRG
17th TRS

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Ken Barber 1945
Pilot  2nd Lt. Walter "Ken" Kenneth Barber, O-773067 (survived)
Co-Pilot  F/O Donald E. More (survived)
Navigator  2nd Lt. Tasos P. Dermousi (WIA, survived)
Engineer  Sgt Lewis J. Huffaker (survived)
Radio  Sgt Ned P. Stevens (survived)
Tail Gunner  Cpl James J. Brown (survived)
Crash Landed  February 11, 1945

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-25 Mitchell serial number 42-87281. Nicknamed "Little Joe" at Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia on the left side of the nose, and small letters beneath it the phrase "Hard to Hit". This B-25 was flown overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific before arriving in New Guinea during January 1944.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group, 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. On the tail was the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron motif and the lower portion of the tail was white. Assigned to pilot Captain Jowell Wise.

Walter "Ken" Kenneth Barber adds:
"The original pilot I believe was Capt. Jowell C. Wise who became a Major and squadron commander by the time I arrived on Mindoro on January 6, 1945. In fact, I flew one mission with him in the #4 flight position on a medium altitude bombing strike in January 1945. Wise left for the USA shortly after that. All of my other missions were low level strafing and skip bombing."

Mission History
On February 11, 1945 took off from Hill Airfield on Mindoro piloted by 2nd Lt. Walter "Ken" Kenneth Barber on a strike mission against Coron City. Returning to land, the hydraulics were shot out and the crew had to lower the landing gear by hand. After landing at Hill Airfield, this B-25 ran into a ditch without brakes. Afterwards the damaged bomber was written off. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Walter "Ken" Barber adds:
"I was the last one to fly "Little Joe" a B-25 operating off of Hill Airfield (a dirt airstrip we called Hammer Tower). We crashed into a ditch in that there were no brakes. The hydraulics were lost, I believe probably shot out on a low level strafing and skip bombing mission over Coron City. The landing gear had been pumped down by hand and I made a no flap landing. We did manage to get on the ground. This occurred on February 11, 1945 on the Island of Mindoro."

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-25 Mitchell 42-87281
Thanks to Walter "Ken" Barber for additional information

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Last Updated
August 10, 2019


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