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Built by North American Aviation (NAA). Constructors Number unknown. Delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-25D Mitchell serial number unknown. Ferried overseas by Captain Roy D. Burkhart (69th BS) via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific (SOPAC) arriving in early 1943.
Assigned to the 13th Air Force (13th AF), 42nd Bombardment Group (42nd BG) "The Crusaders", 69th Bombardment Squadron (69th BS). Nicknamed "The Alpine Milkman" with the nose art of a figure skiing downhill with mountains in the background. Possibly, the nickname was derived from the popular song of the same name. Assigned to crew chief Sgt Nathan Leizerowitz. Below the cockpit was a scoreboard with bomb markings indicating missions flown. The nose wheel hub had red and white squares painted onto it. The nose wheel hub was painted with a black and white.
In early 1943, this B-25 began operating from Henderson Field on Guadalcanal flying combat missions in the Solomon Islands. This bomber flew at least seventeen bombing missions. Afterwards, flown to Garbutt Field at Townsville and converted into a B-25D-1 strafer version by the 4th Air Depot (4th AD) with additional .50 caliber machine guns in the nose and side gun packs.
Afterwards, returned to the 42nd Bombardment Group (42nd BG) and continued to fly bombing missions from Guadalcanal against targets in the in the Solomon Islands. During late 1943 operated from Banika Field in the Russell Islands and was photographed with a scoreboard with fifty bomb markings. During January 1944, photographed with 150+ bomb markings that spanned both sides of the nose art and nickname. A later photograph has 187 bomb markings.
This B-25 flew combat missions until at least early 1944. Afterwards, this plane was flown to Garbutt Field and stripped for usable parts with both engines removed. Ultimate fate unknown, likely scrapped.
Steve Crane adds:
"My Father, Norman Crane, also flew the Alpine Milkman. If you go to The Crusaders page 91 the middle of row 3 has a picture of him standing next to the plane. He also flew two other B25s, one was named "Dorthea" after my Mother, and another (don't remember the name) that was hit by numerous flak blasts and was used for part (according to him). He went to Rankin Academy in Tulare, California, where he learned to fly, and served in the Pacific for over two years (he has a service ribbon with 3-oak leaf clusters). According to records, he flew over 90 missions while in service in the Pacific. He and my Mother lived in the San Francisco area, and he passed away in 2002. Hope this information helps with further identifying those associated with the 42nd BG and The Alpine Milkman."
Do you have any photos or additional information about this B-25, or photos of it?
Did you or a relative fly missions aboard this bomber? Contact us to share more
Larry Hickey / International Historical Research Associates adds in May 2010:
"I cannot, at present, associate The Alpine Milkman B-25 with any SN, as I only have photos of the nose art. None showing the rest of the plane, tail, serial number, etc."
The Crusaders: A History of the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) (1946) part 12, page 91 (photo), 96
"Pilots 1st Lt.... Roy D. Burkhart.. all joined the 69th during the first two weeks in March , as did Wayne D. Scott, Jr., assistant engineering officer."
(Page 96) "Headquarters, 13th AAF, South Pacific, June 4, 1944-The Alpine Milkman, a 13th AAF B-25 Mitchell bomber, is being made ready to fly the Pacific for the second time. It recently finished 15 months of faithful service in combat in the South Pacific. Flown from the United States by Capt. Roy D. Burkhart, Del Nort, Colorado, it landed on Guadalcanal as the last few Japs were being driven from that island. Since then it has flown every important mission in the South Pacific, ranging from Rekata Bay, southernmost enemy naval base in the Solomons, to the big supply center at Rabaul. Bombs representing 165 bombing missions have been painted on the nose of the bomber, but Sgt. Nathan Leizerowitz, the bomber's crew chief, claims, "It has flown twice that many missions. The ship flew so many the painters just couldn't keep track of all of them."
The Morning Call "Sergeant Leizerowitz Services Big Bomber" June 23, 1944 page 19
"Sgt. Nathan Leizerowitz, the bomber's crew chief from Paterson, N.J."
Earthmovers (1945) page 79 (photo)
Thanks to Larry Hickey, Steven Tsavlis and John Swint for additional information
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