B-25 Miss Mitchell

 

B-25 Miss Mitchell

This B-25 Miss Mitchell image was captured before it’s flight as part of 20 B-25s flying to the Air Force Museum for the 70th Doolittle Raider Reunion in April 2012.  A storm was brewing just west of Grimes Field, but at the moment of the click, all was quiet.  For a first hand account of B-25 activities at the 70th Doolittle Raider reunion: B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.

B-25 Grumpy

B-25 Grumpy

B-25 Grumpy sat ready at sunset the night before it’s flight as part of 20 B-25s flying to the Air Force Museum for the 70th Doolittle Raider Reunion in April 2012.  Grumpy, built by North American, started service in October 1943 at the USAAF advanced flying school.  After over 1500 flying hours, it was overhauled and sent to lend lease with the RAF.  After the war, it served in the Canadian Northwest Air Command.  After 1962, it was sold to private owners and, at one time, was used as a fire bomber.  In 1887 “Grumpy” was acquired by TFC and restored at Chino; then, flown to the U.K. and placed back in storage.  Finally, in 2008, it was restored to airworthy condition and returned to the USA.  For more information on “Grumpy”. visit TFCs web site.   For a first hand account of B-25 activities at the 70th Doolittle Raider reunion: B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.

B-25 Tondelayo

B-25 Tondelayo

B-25 Tondelayo taxiing for take-off at Grimes Field, the base for all B-25s attending the 70th Reunion of the Doolittle Raiders.  For a first hand account of B-25 activities at the reunion: B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.  Tondelayo is owned and operated by the Collins Foundation.  To find more information about this distinguished B-25, visit the Tondelayo on the Collins Foundation Website. 

B-25 Champaign Gal

B-25 Champaign Gal

B-25 Champaign Gal  Champaign Gal belongs to the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Airfield in Urbana, OH where the B-25s were based for the at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion in April 2012..  Many thanks to them for being such great hosts.  They worked very hard along with Grimes Museum and the airport staff, management, and volunteers to hold a first class event.

To see the nose art of all the B-25s at the reunion: B-25 Nose Art at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.

B-25 Nose Art at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion

B-25: Champaign GalB-25 Nose Art at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion  Nose art was very popular with the flight and ground crews of fighters and bombers during WWII.  The B-25s attending the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion in April, 2012 had a nice variety of nose art.  There were 20 B-25s that attended the reunion, but you’ll see 21 nose art photos.  So, what gives?  Well, in WWII, some airplanes had nose art on only one side of the nose, others had the same basic art on both sides of the nose, a few had different art on each side of the nose, and a some had no nose art at all.  Of the planes that attended the reunion, all had nose art, but one had different art on each side of its’ nose.

For a first hand account of B-25 activities at the reunion: B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.

(Select any image below for a slideshow…)

Champaign Gal belongs to the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Airfield in Urbana, OH where the B-25s were based for the reunion.  Many thanks to them for being such great hosts.  They worked very hard along with Grimes Museum and the airport staff, management, and volunteers to hold a first class event.

To learn more about the Doolittle Raiders, visit their official web siteDoolittle Tokyo Raiders.

B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion

Executive SweetB-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion  In two weeks, the 75th Doolittle Raiders Reunion will take place at Grimes Field in Urbana, OH and the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.  Of the 80 brave men on the mission, only one will be with us to celebrate 75th anniversary of their successful mission.  But, first let’s look back to the 70th reunion.

In April 2012, I had the good fortune to attend the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion at Grimes Field and the Air Force Museum.  On 18 Apr 1942, 16 brave flight crews took off from the USS Hornet aircraft carrier in B-25 bombers to strike the Japanese mainland in a daring mission early in WWII.  Of the 80 men on the mission, five still remained with us to celebrate 70th anniversary of their successful mission.  This reunion remembers them and all the brave WWII air crews who fought and sometimes died to keep us a free nation.  Twenty B-25 aircraft attended the reunion along with their pilots, flight crews, and ground crews.

To see the nose art of all the B-25s at the reunion: B-25 Nose Art at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.

 

The Night BeforeThe day before the reunion flight to the Air Force Museum was a great day to see the planes and talk with flight crews, ground crews, and even several WWII pilots.  I even met “Bud”, a Army Signal Corp photographer assigned to the 5th Air Force.  He and my dad served on the same base in New Guinea in WWII.  The day before gave way to the night before.  The planes were ready; 0530 would come early for these hard working crews.  As the sun set, the crowds began to thin out a bit and the photogs began to do their thing.  Solitary B-25s, soft light, and longer exposures can sometimes make for great images.  It’s going to be a short night for the crews and for the photogs as well.  At 0530, Grimes Field will be alive with flight crews, ground crews, airport staff, onlookers, and the Air Force Band.  Take-off will be at 0700.  But, for now, it’s a peaceful place; not unlike the peaceful nights WWII bomb crews enjoyed before the next day’s mission.  Wonder what thoughts crossed their minds on the night before…

The Morning of

 

 

And, of course, the night before gave way to dawn; the day of.  So, it’s 0530.  The flight crews are being briefed.  The grounds crews are making last minute checks of the airplanes.  By 0600, ground crews begin to move the B-25s into position.  Each plane must take-off in a prearranged order.  By 0600, enough dawn light allows us photogs to begin capturing images as the Air Force Band plays Stars & Stripes.  And, by 0630, flight crews complete their preflight checks and soon after, the planes begin starting engines and taxiing into line to wait their turn to take-off.  Now, the pilots are focusing all their attention on the mission ahead.

Take-off is not a time to be nervous, but rather a time every pilot cherishes.  Today’s mission is a “milk run” to the U.S. Air Force Museum at Dayton, OH.  The 20 B-25’s take-off 90 seconds apart beginning at 0700.

Take-offAfter landing at the U.S. Air Force Museum, the planes were on display along the Museum’s runway before, during , and after the formal reunion ceremonies.  The 75th reunion will likely hold a similar display.

Air Force Museum Runway

 

Champaign Gal, one of the 20 B-25s, belongs to the Champaign Aviation Museum at Grimes Airfield in Urbana, OH where the B-25s were based for the reunion.  Many thanks to them for being such great hosts.  They worked very hard along with Grimes Museum and the airport staff, management, and volunteers to hold a first class event.

To learn more about the Doolittle Raiders, visit their official web siteDoolittle Tokyo Raiders.

B-25 Tondelayo

B-25 Tondelayo

B-25 Tondelayo  In 2012, the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion was held at Grimes Field in Urbana, OH and the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH.  Tondelayo was just one of the 20 B-25s attending the reunion.  On April 17th – 18th this year, the 75th Doolittle Raiders Reunion will be held.  Seventeen B-25s are expected to attend.  Of the 80 men on the mission, only one remains with us to celebrate the 75th anniversary.  Tondelayo is owned and operated by the Collins Foundation.  To find more information about this distinguished B-25, visit the Tondelayo on the Collins Foundation Website. For a first hand account of B-25 activities at the reunion: B-25s at the 70th Doolittle Raiders Reunion.