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  B-25C-1 Mitchell Serial Number 41-13148  
13th AF
42nd BG
390th BS

Aircraft History
Built by North American in Inglewood, California. Constructors Number 82-5783. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25C-1 Mitchell serial number 41-13148. Ferried overseas via Hawaii to the South Pacific.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group, 390th Bombardment Squadron. No known nickname or nose art.

On July 20, 1943 took off from Carney Field on Guadalcanal piloted by 1st Lt. Oscar E. Vordahl with co-pilot 2nd Lt. Rex L Workman, navigator 2nd Lt. Clarence D. Shinn, engineer SSgt George Rice, radio SSgt Frederick W. Berens and gunner SSgt Donald J. Stiles at 7:20am as one of eight B-25s from the 390th Bombardment Squadron on a mission to search for enemy shipping around Vella Lavella Island then return. Weather was fair with visibility approximately 20 miles with calm seas.

The B-25s located and made bombing attacks against a "cruiser". In fact, Japanese destroyer Kiyonami. Although damaged, the enemy ship put up a barrage of anti-aircraft fire. Attacking, B-25C "The Worry Bird" 41-13153 claimed a bomb hit on the magazine that caused an explosion and the ship to sink roughly two minutes later.

On the return flight, four B-25s led by this bomber plus B-25C 42-53436 piloted by 1st Lt. Otto F. Kuhl and B-25C "The Worry Bird" 41-13153 spotted three vessels south of the Ferguson Passage heading towards the southern tip of Rendova Island and initiated a strafing attack. In fact, they were PT-168, PT-166 and PT-164 patrolled to the south of Ferguson Passage. PT-168 held its fire, the other two might have returned fire at the bombers. PT-166 was hit and exploded off Munda Point on New Georgia. Also, PT-164 and PT-168 were damaged. Aboard the PT Boats, one officer and ten enlisted men were wounded.

Damaged by defensive fire, B-25C "The Worry Bird" 41-13153 was damaged and crashed into the sea at 8:03am roughly 5 miles away from the PT Boats off Wanawana Island (Vonavona Island). The crash was observed by this bomber's crew and they circled the crash site observing a life raft and at least three men inside before returning to base low on fuel. Departing, this B-25 observed a U. S. Navy (USN) aircraft observed the combat and circled the B-25 crash site.

USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25CC-1 Mitchell 41-13148
"MIA Dec 25, 1943"
Missing Air Crew Report 20 (MACR 20) page 4-5 statements on July 20, 1943 mission written July 22, 1943
History of the 42nd Bomb Group Chapter 7
Impact "Moral: Don't be Trigger Happy" volume 2 no. 5 May 1944 pages 36-37
[Page 36] Artwork "Double Tragedy off Munda Point" by A. Deydenfrost
[Page 37] Double Tragedy off Munda Point last year [July 20, 1943] is reconstructed from the narrative of a pilot back from the S. W. Pacific. A B-25 crew, on patrol, failed to identify two [three] U.S. torpedo boats [PT-166, PT-168 and PT-164]. The boats possibly had opened fire on him. The B-25 came down and strafed, sinking a boat [PT-166]. Then a Navy fighter pilot capped the tragedy of errors. He may have made a mistake in identification or might have thought the B-25 [B-25C Mitchell 41-13153] to be Jap-operated. At any rate he shot it down."
At Close Quarters PT Boats in the United States Navy pages 119-120 (July 20, 1943)

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Last Updated
October 23, 2019


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