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  B-25J-20/22-NC "30,000 th North American Airplane" Serial Number 44-29544  
USAAF
5th AF
345th BG
499th BS

Click For Enlargement
USAAF c1945
Pilot  1st Lt. James E. Slaughter (rescued)
Radio   T/Sgt Otto J. Taylor (WIA, rescued)

Ditched  January 29, 1945
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) at Air Force Plant NC at Fairfax Field near Kansas City, KS. Constructors Number 108-32819. At the factory, nicknamed ""30,000 th North American Airplane"" in yellow to celebrate the completion of the 30,000th B-25 Mitchell. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25J-20/22-NC Mitchell serial number 44-29544. Ferried overseas via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South West Pacific Area (SWPA).

Wartime History
Assigned to the 5th Air Force, 345th Bombardment Group, 499th Bombardment Squadron on January 13, 1945 as one of the first B-25J-22 models to arrive. Assigned to pilot Slaughter with crew chief TSgt James E. Salzman.

Mission History
On January 29, 1945 took off from Tacloban Airfield on Leyte piloted by 1st Lt. James E. Slaughter on a bombing mission against Cabcaben Airfield on Bataan. Returning from the mission on the landing approach, the preceding aircraft was caught in turbulence and drove off the marston matting (PSP) temporarily blocking the runway. To avoid hitting it, Slaughter pulled up and tried for another landing attempt, but one engine cut out and it ditched off Tacloban into the sea about two miles away from the runway.

Fates of the Crew
During the ditching, radio operator Taylor was knocked unconscious on impact. The entire crew successfully deployed their life rafts and removed Taylor from the aircraft before it sank.

Rescue
Within an hour of the ditching, the entire crew was rescued by an LST and returned to duty.

References
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-25J-20/22-NC Mitchell 44-29544
"29544 condemned accident 29 Jan 1945"
Warpath Across The Pacific page 258 (photo) 390

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Last Updated
January 31, 2020

 

Tech Info
B-25

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