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  B-25C "Boomerang" Serial Number 41-12499  
5th AF
3rd BG
13th BS

Pilot  Captain James L Orr, O-023098 (MIA / KIA) Davisboro, GA
Co-Pilot  2nd Lt Charles V. Berdine, O-725487 (MIA / KIA) NJ
Crew  2nd Lt Mark P. Hubert, O-659551 (MIA / KIA) NC
Crew  2nd Lt Norman K. Miller, O-725897 (MIA / KIA) Carlyle, IL
Turret Gunner  Sgt Nelson A. Boyd, 14017184 (MIA / KIA) Magnolia, MS
Radio/Gunner  Sgt John Crockett Patton, 405646 RAAF (MIA / KIA) Mackay, QLD
MIA  August 25, 1942
MACR  none

Pilot History
James Lawson Orr was born December 24, 1915 in Davisboro, Georgia. Entered Service from Dekalb County, Georgia and Graduated from West Point, class of 1940. Married Helen Deckman on April 16, 1941. Are you a family member of James Orr? .

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C Mitchell serial number 41-12499. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to Australia arriving on April 26, 1942.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group, 13th Bombardment Squadron. Nicknamed "Boomerang" painted in white block letters on the right side of the nose below the nose windows.

On July 26, 1942, took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by 1st Lt John R. Linn with co-pilot  F/Sgt Robert John Fergie (RAAF) as one of five B-25s from the 13th and 90th Bombardment Squadrons that on a mission to attack enemy seaplanes anchored off Gasmata in West New Britain. En route the formation was attacked by approximately 10-15 A6M Zeros from the Tainan Kōkūtai, when they passed over the Buna area that was recently seized by Japanese forces.

When intercepted, the B-25's jettisoned their bombs and turned back towards Port Moresby. Two were shot down: B-25C 41-12470 piloted by Lt. Schmidt's and B-25C "Aurora" 41-1279 piloted by Capt. Bender. The remaining bombers, this aircraft and B-25C "Fat Cat" 41-12449 piloted by Lt. Johnson continued a running fight all the way back to Port Moresby area.

During the combat, this B-25 was hit by a 20mm cannon shells and gunfire that exploding shattering the plexiglass. All but three Zeros turned back when the bombers were within ten minutes of 7-Mile Drome. By the end of the combat, only one gun in the top turret of this B-25 was operative, all the other guns on the two bombers were inoperative. Lt. Linn’s turret gunner Sgt Boyd fed ammunition from his right gun to his left in order to cover both planes as best as possible. Before giving up, one A6M2 Zero strafed parked aircraft at 14 Mile Drome (Laloki). Back at base, Linn circled 7 Mile Drome while Johnson landed first with an engine smoking. After the mission, an inspection of Lt. Linn's B-25 revealed 20mm cannon holes in the wings, one engine and the fuselage.

Mission History
On August 25, 1942 took off from 7 Mile Drome near Port Moresby piloted by Captain James L Orr as part of a formation on a bombing mission against Japanese shipping off Milne Bay. Over the target, other B-25s in the formation reported seeing a large flash near the target area. It was presumed this aircraft dropped its bombs too low or was hit by anti-aircraft fire. When this aircraft failed to return from the mission the crew was officially declared Missing In Action (MIA).

The entire crew was officially declared dead on December 12, 1945. Each member of the crew earned the Air Medal and Purple Heart, posthumously. The entire crew is memorialized at Manila American Cemetery on the tablets of the missing.

Boyd also has a memorial marker in Hollywood Cemetery in McComb, MS.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25C Mitchell 41-12499
"12499 (MSN 82-5134) to Netherlands East Indies AF as N5-157 Feb 24, 1942 but ferried to Australia and impressed Mar 25, 1942 by USAAF and assigned to 3rd BG. (3rd BG, 13th BS) missing on flight from Port Moresby, New Guinea to Milne Bay Aug 25, 1942."
PNG Museum Aircraft Status Card - B-25C Mitchell 41-12499
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James L. Orr

American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Charles V. Berdine
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Mark P. Hubert
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Norman K. Miller
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - Nelson A. Boyd
CWGC - John Crockett Patton
FindAGrave - Capt James L Orr

FindAGrave - 1Lt Charles V Berdine (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - 1LT Mark Paul Hubert (obituary)
FindAGrave - 1Lt Norman K Miller (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Sgt Nelson Alvin Boyd (tablets of the missing photo)
FindAGrave - Nelson Alvin Boyd (memorial marker photo)
FindAGrave - Sergeant John Crockett Patton
Thanks to Edward Rogers for additional information

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Last Updated
February 14, 2020


Tech Info

6 Missing
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