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South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation celebrates B-25’s 75th birthday

Columbia’s fabled B-25 is turning 75, and the South Carolina Historic Aviation Foundation (SCHAF) is celebrating with a party Oct. 14.

Second Saturdays are regular Open House days for SCHAF – 10 am to 1 pm. The October Open House will be a special occasion.

According to SCHAF education vice president Ron Shelton, “Our rare artifact came off the assembly line in Inglewood, CA, 75 years ago, had a brief stopover in Kansas City, KS, to take on some military additions, then arrived in Columbia.”

Shelton, who served as science curator as the South Carolina State Museum for several decades, said B-25s were sent to bases throughout the US, and some directly into theaters of war, but Columbia Army Air Base (CAAB) received more than any other base.

“From CAAB, this plane was then assigned to Greenville, and had left Greenville Army Air Base the morning of D-Day, 1944, when the training accident occurred that sent it to the bottom of Lake Greenwood when it stayed for 39 years,” Shelton said.

The legend of that ditching, and the plane’s 1983 recovery, will be among the stories told during the birthday celebration.

Ron Skipper said a status report on the plane’s restoration will also be part of the observance. “Volunteers working on the plane have completed the cockpit, and we will be talking up our next goal for the restoration,” Skipper said.

The Open House and 75th birthday observance will take place at Hamilton-Owens Airport. For more information, visit: schistoricaviation.org.

Featured photo: South Carolina Historic Aviation volunteers who have restored the cockpit of the rare Mitchell B-25, and now are starting to work on the bomb bay are: Ron Skipper, left, in window; Lucien Lapierre, Katherine Cuddy, and Niall McLaughlin. Standing: David Moxley and John Chamberlain. Chris Gillam is holding the sign. Absent when picture made: Joe McDonagh and Edwin Scott.

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