1⁄1Maid in the Shade
historyThe B-25 medium bomber was a very versatile aircraft, and was used in nearly every theatre of the Second World War. It was used for both strategic and tactical operations, as well as raids upon targets of opportunity. Perhaps the most famous operation was Jimmy Doolittle's 1942 raid on Tokyo, launching on a one-way trip from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet off the Japanese coast and terminating in various locations in China and Russia.
TB-25M 355972 was manufactured at the North American Aviation plant as a B-25J in Kansas City and delivered to the U.S. Army Air Force on June 9, 1944. It then was flown to Hunter Field, Savannah, Georgia on June 24 then onto Morrison Field, Florida where it was readied for deployment to the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation.
On July 7, 1944, this aircraft departed Morrison Field and followed the southern route through Brazil, then across the Atlantic to Africa where it was delivered to the 3rd Air Facility Depot. Later that fall it was picked up by the 319th Bomb Group, 437th Squadron at Serraggia Airbase, Corsica. There it was assigned Battle Number 18. The plane then proceeded to fly 15 combat missions over Italy between November 4 and December 31, 1944. The majority of the targets were railroad bridges.
The plane was then returned to the depot and flown back to the U.S. the following summer. It then preformed utility and transport duties within the U.S. until the spring of 1958 when it was placed in storage at Davis Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ. In early 1960 the military sold the plane to a smelter operator in Phoenix, AZ who, some 8 months later, sold it to Dothan Aviation in Dothan, Alabama, where it joined two other B-25s as agricultural bug sprayers. By the early 1970s Dothan Aviation sold the plane to a war bird collector, after which it was bought and sold to a series of different war bird collectors before ending up being bought by 3 individuals in the St. Paul - Bloomington, Minnesota, area in mid 1979.
These three individuals, in 1981, then decided to donate the plane to the CAF. The plane, through the work of AZ Wing member Jim Orton, was then assigned to the AZ Wing. The plane was in pretty bad shape in that during its ferry flight to Mesa, in 1981, it had to make several stops as its engines burned and leaked lots of oil. Upon arrival at the AZ Wing in Mesa it was hangared in a rented hangar on Falcon Field where members began to take the plane apart. Just about every nut and bolt was taken off, so much so it was barely recognized as a B-25.
Over the next 27 years members worked to restore the plane. It was a very slow process as work was prioritized between the B-17 Sentimental Journey, other aircraft, and the B-25. But over time the B-25 was put back together and restored to the way it was when it served during World War II in Corsica, which was the goal of the Arizona Wing. The plane's name, Maid in the Shade, and nose art, a girl laying on an island with palm trees and Serraggia, Corsica 1944 written above it, was selected by votes from AZ Wing members in the fall of 2002 and spring of 2003 respectively. It was also painted as it was when it served in Corsica with Battle Number 18 on her tail.
Maid in the Shade now tours North America, bringing history to enthusiasts wherever it goes.
History adapted from the Commemorative Air Force
Copyright ©2020 by Jessica Cooper. _OPINIONS Model Shipwrights, KitMaker Network, or Silver Star Enterrpises. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Model Shipwrights. All rights reserved. Originally published on: 2014-08-09 17:07:57. Unique Reads: 8019