Last week I had the privilege of attending the AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, WI. This week-long event brings aircraft from all corners and allows this normally quiet air field to gain the title of the “World’s Busiest Control Tower!” Among the 7,000 airplanes involved, there were literally hundreds from the WWII era. The “Devil Dog” is just one that was there.
The B-25 was built by North American Aviation with the goal of being a medium range bomber. In honor of General Billy Mitchell, an early pioneer of military aviation, this became known as the B-25 Mitchell. Built mostly in Kansas City, KS, over 9,000 of these highly effective aircraft were flown. During production, there were a number of variations and improvements made. Most commonly, the B-25 is see with a clear nose that would include a gunner for forward actions. This particular plane is a 1944 Marine model known as a PBJ – Patrol Bomber J (from North American Aviation). It was primarily used for aerial support in Marine operation throughout the Pacific. The B-25 is most notably known for the historic Doolittle Raid.
On April 18, 1942, just months after Pearl Harbor, Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle led 16 B-25s in a daring attack against the island of Japan. Many thought this mission was absurd as the plan required these bombers to be launched from an aircraft carrier, something only reserved for fighters and rescue flights. Despite the enormous odds, they did complete the mission, disrupting the Japanese confidence with a fear of future attacks on their homeland. Their story is quite incredible. I encourage you to learn more of their sacrifice at: http://www.doolittleraider.com. Of the 80 involved, there are only 5 of these heroic men still with us today.
I selected this image due to the color and interest the clouds give to the fuselage. From this aggressive angle, it is clear this aircraft means business!
3 Frame Hand-Held HDR, Processed in LR and Topaz Clarity