WWII B-25 Bombers visit Walnut Ridge - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

WWII B-25 Bombers visit Walnut Ridge

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT)- In Commemoration of the Doolittle Raid on Japan on April 18, 1942, 22 Mitchell B-25 bombers will be gathering in Dayton, OH. Two of them passed through Walnut Ridge on Monday.

Of the 10 Thousand B-25's built, around 35 are in flyable condition today. Larry Gregory the President of the Lone Star Flight Museum of Galveston, Texas was aboard their bomber and shared a little History of the plane. "It Was stateside during the war it served here in the states and postwar it served as a trainer into the 50's."

  Gregory pointed out a couple of things on the museum's aircraft.
"This is the only airplane painted in the colors of the Doolittle Raiders that actually flies. We worked with the Doolittle Raiders to get their permission to paint the airplane in their honor."

The plane went through several owners and wound up rotting away on a ramp just days from the scrap heap. A college student bought the plane for $500 dollars and it became the museums first aircraft.

On April 18, 1942, twenty B-25's flew off an aircraft carrier and bombed Tokyo. The mission was led by Colonel Jimmy Doolittle.

About an hour after the first plane touched down in Walnut Ridge, the second B-25 called "Russian Ta Get Ya!" touched down. This plane literally just finished up its restoration and was painted for another chapter in B-25 History.

 Dale, "There's 5 of the original Doolittle Raiders still alive and the Air Force Museum is putting on a big reunion for them and they say this will be the last one for them."

This plane is owned by the Lewis Air Legends group out of San Antonio, Texas. Pilot Jim Dale said this airplane represented history that a lot of people don't know about. 

  Dale,"During World War 2, we sent thousand of planes to the Russians to help us fight the Germans in Europe. They got about 600 B-25's."

Both airplanes are headed to Dayton, Ohio to join in a mass flyover to Honor Doolittle's pilots and crews.

On a panel in the museum plane several of the Doolittle Raiders have left behind their autographs. Colonel Doolittle's Co-pilot, Dick Cole has flown the raider bird 3 times.

With their fuel tanks topped off a burst of smoke and the ramp was filled with the rumble of round engines.

 A quick engine run up and the two bombers lifted off heading North to join many of their surviving brothers in a final tribute to a select group of World War 2 heroes.

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