OCEAN CITY — Yet another element to the 2016 Ocean City Air Show was added this week when officials announced the B-25 bomber of World War II fame will be part of the festivities.
Ocean City Air Show officials this week announced the B-25 Mitchell Bomber “Panchito” will be featured at the 2016 event in June in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the aircraft’s first service with the Army Air Corps during World War II. In a rare opportunity, the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation is offering air show enthusiasts a chance to experience what it was like for flight crews aboard the “Panchito” during bombing raids in World War II.
While the Ocean City Air Show dates for 2016 are June 18-19, the B-25 Mitchell Bomber “Panchito” will arrive at the Ocean City Airport on June 12. For three days, a $425 donation to the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation will get aviation enthusiasts onto the “Panchito” for demonstration flights. The flights will be held from June 12 to June 14.
The B-25 Mitchell was a twin-engined medium bomber manufactured by North American Aviation. It was used by many Allied forces in every theater of World War II. It was also used by many other air forces after the war and saw service for over four decades. The B-25 was named in honor of General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation.
By the end of its production, roughly 10,000 B-25s in numerous models had been pressed into service. The B-25 first gained fame as the bomber used in the Doolittle Raid in April 1942. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, 16 B-25 bombers attacked mainland Japan just four months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
The mission gave a much-needed lift in spirits for Americans still smarting from Pearl Harbor and perhaps more importantly alarmed the Japanese, who believed their home islands were invincible. Although the amount of actual damage done was relatively minor, it did force Japan to divert troops and resources for the defense of the home islands