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

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USAAF c1944

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Barber Feb 11, 1945
Pilot  2nd Lt. Walter "Ken" Kenneth Barber, O-773067 (survived) Los Angeles, CA
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
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D-25 Mitchell serial number 42-87281. At Hunter Field in Savannah, Georgia nicknamed "Little Joe" in block letters with quotes around the name and a pair of dice with the number two visible on both a point in the game of Craps. In small letters below the name was Hard to Hit". Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific and in January 1944 arriving in New Guinea in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 71st Tactical Reconnaissance Group (71st TRG), 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (17th TRS). On the tail was the motif of the 17th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of a figure atop a bomb inside a circle of a shooting star with stars in the background. The lower portion of the tail and the rear tip of each engine nacelle was painted white.

Assigned to pilot Captain Jowell Wise.

The ground crew included: crew chief T/Sgt Pefecto M. Gomez, assistant crew chief S/Sgt Roy L. Wooten, mechanic Sgt. Leonard R. Peterson and armorer Pfc John O. Murry.

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 K. Barber on a low level strike mission against Coron on Coron Island. Over the target, the hydraulics were damaged. Returning, the crew manually lowered the landing gear and had no flaps when landing at Hill Airfield. Without breaks, this B-25 ran off the runway and came to rest in a drainage ditch. On impact, the right side ended up in the ditch with the left wing pointed upward with the left engine torn off the mount and the left landing gear bent outward.

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."

Afterwards the damaged bomber was written off. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped or otherwise disappeared.

Huffaker passed away on September 22, 1988 at age 63. He is buried at Fern Hill Cemetery in Aberdeen, WA.

More passed away on April 21, 2001 at age 79. He is buried at Saint Catherine Cemetery in Algonac, MI.

Barber passed away on April 23, 2001 at aged 91. He is buried at Riverside National Cemetery at section 52B, site 721. He also has a burial at Oaklawn Cemetery at Algonac, MI

NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Walter K. Barber
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Donald E. More
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25D-25 Mitchell 42-87281
February 1945 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports does not mention this loss
FindAGrave - Walter K Barber (grave)
FindAGrave - Donald E. More (Saint Catherine Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Donald E. More (Oaklawn Cemetery)
FindAGrave - Lewis J Huffaker (grave photo)
Thanks to Walter "Ken" Barber for additional information

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Last Updated
February 7, 2020


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