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  B-25C Mitchell Serial Number 41-12497  
5th AF
3rd BG
90th BS
Hesselabrth 1942
Pilot  2nd Lt John E. Hesselbarth (survived) Abilene, KS
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt. George C. Farr (survived) Antlers, OK
Crew  Cpl Barton (survived)
Crew  Cpl Hartman (survived)
Crew  TSgt Boswell (survived)
Force Landed  May 14, 1942
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructors Number 82-5132. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number 41-12497. On February 26, 1942 assigned to the NEIAF (NEIAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number N5-155. Ferried via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia arriving April 26, 1942.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force (5th AF), 3rd Bombardment Group (3rd BG), 90th Bombardment Squadron (90th BS). No known nickname or nose art.

Mission History
On May 14, 1942 took off from 3 Mile Drome (Kila) near Port Moresby piloted by 2nd Lt John E. Hesselbarth on bombing mission against Lae. Damaged by intercepting A6M2 Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai (Tainan Air Group) in the tail section, wings and right engine. The hydraulic system was also put out of action. Returning, this B-25 force landed at 3 Mile Drome (Kila) and the entire crew survived, both gunners were wounded.

Eleven days later, on May 25, 1942 Hesselbarth went Missing In Action (MIA) piloting B-25C 41-12448 over Lae.
NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - George C. Farr
USAF Serial Number Search Results - 41-12497
"12497 (MSN 82-5132) to Netherlands East Indies AF as N5-155 Feb 25, 1942 but ferried to Australia and retained by USAAF. Condemned Mar 1, 1943"
History of the 90th BS page 30
American Battle Monuments Commission (AMBC) - John E. Hesselbarth
FindAGrave - 1Lt John Emmett Hesselbarth (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Lieut John Emmett Hesselbarth (memorial marker photo)
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
July 2, 2021


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