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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 via Hickam Field then across the Pacific to the South Pacific (SOPAC).
Assigned to the 13th Air Force, 42nd Bombardment Group. 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. The nose wheel hub had red and white squares painted onto it.
This bomber was converted into a B-25D-1 strafer version by the 4th Air Depot (4th AD) at Garbutt Field near Townsville. During the conversion, this plane had seventeen bomb markings indicating missions flown. Afterwards, returned to the squadron and continued flying combat missions. In the Russell Islands this B-25 had fifty bomb markings at Renard Field. A photo from January 1944 shows 150+ bomb markings painted around the artwork and later photo with 187 bomb markings.
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) part 12, 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."
This B-25 was active in the group until at least early 1944. It is unclear if this B-25 was lost, turned into a squadron hack or returned to the United States. 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 2 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 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
The Crusaders: A History of the 42nd Bombardment Group (M) part 12, page 91 (photo), 96
Earthmovers page 79 (photo)
Thanks to Larry Hickey , Steven Tsavlis and John Swint for additional information
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