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Rare WWII bomber welcomes visitors to Springfield-Branson National Airport

Updated: Sep. 4, 2021 at 6:06 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - History buffs and airplane aficionados have a rare chance to see a World War II aircraft in Springfield through Labor Day weekend.

“Maid in the Shade,” a B-25 bomber that flew 15 combat missions during the World War II era, made way to the Springfield-Branson National Airport on Monday, Aug. 30. It will remain at the site through Labor Day weekend.

“When they restored it, the airbase took a vote as to what to name it, and they came up with ‘Maid in the Shade,’” said Doug Spencer with the Commemorative Air Force. “The way I understand how that name was picked was because they had built a new hangar at Falcon Field, and they were able to work inside that hangar to refurbish it, rather than out in the hot sun.”

The B-25 was developed by North American Aviation and used mainly as a low altitude strafe and skip bomber. Nearly 10,000 B-25s were produced for service, but only 34 are still flying in the present day.

“This aircraft was mainly used in the Mediterranean or the Pacific, and it was very effective,” said Spencer. “A low range bomber would come in low and bomb the ships, then strafing aircraft and airfields on the ground, and islands.”

The B-25s are best know for the role they played in the Doolittle Raid, which served as a retaliation attack after Pearl Harbor. Sixteen B-25s took off from the Pacific Ocean to bomb an industrial part of Tokyo.

Historians say “Maid in the Shade” served wartime duty with the 319th Bomb Group, 437th Squadron at Serragia Airbase, Corsica, flying in combat missions over Italy and Yugoslavia. The Airbase Arizona Flying Museum acquired the plane in 1981, completing restoration to fly it again in 2009.

One of the details on this aircraft is inside the bomb bay. Veterans have left their signatures, including one that served in the Doolittle Raid.

According to the Springfield-Branson National Airport, the public will have the opportunity to climb aboard the B-25. Visitors can also pay for ground tours and flights in the plane.

For more information on when you can see “Maid in the Shade,” CLICK HERE.

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