New EAA Exhibit Honors 345th BG ‘Air Apaches’ of World War II

A spectacular image of Air Apaches in action against the Imperial Japanese fleet during the Pacific campaign in WWII. Note the skipping 500lb bomb in the near foreground and the second ship under attack by other B-25s to the rear. (photo via 345th BG Association)
A spectacular image of Air Apaches in action against the Imperial Japanese fleet during the Pacific campaign in WWII. Note the skipping 500lb bomb in the near foreground and the second ship under attack by other B-25s to the rear. (photo via 345th BG Association)
A spectacular image of Air Apaches in action against the Imperial Japanese fleet during the Pacific campaign in WWII. Note the skipping 500lb bomb in the near foreground and the second ship under attack by other B-25s to the rear. (photo via 345th BG Association)

by Jim Bina

July 15, 2015 – A new museum exhibit will debut during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 highlighting the history of the 345th Bombardment Group, one of the most distinguished bomber units of World War II. Known as the Air Apaches, the 345th BG helped perfect the technique of low-level bombing and strafing in the Pacific Theater. Their heavily armed B-25 Mitchell bombers blazed a warpath from Australia north to the Japanese islands.

A B-25 Mitchell of the 345th BG 'Air Apaches' attacks a Japanese destroyer during WWII. (photo via EAA)
A B-25 Mitchell of the 345th BG ‘Air Apaches’ attacks a Japanese destroyer during WWII. (photo via 345thBG Association)

Because each aircraft used the advanced K-21 rear-facing aerial camera, their exploits also produced some of the most dramatic photographs of the air war. The new exhibit uses many of these images to illustrate the devastating blows the Air Apaches inflicted upon the Imperial Japanese forces; dropping demolition and fragmentation bombs backed up by a torrent of .50 caliber machine gun fire. Artifacts and videos tell the stories of the brave crews who flew these unforgiving, tree-top level missions. A special area of the exhibit honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

The public is welcome to attend the opening ceremony and be amongst the first to view the displays on Tuesday, July 21st, at 11 a.m. in the EAA AirVenture Museum’s Telling Gallery.

North American B-25D-5-NA Mitchell s/n 41-30024 500th Bomb Squadron "Rough Raiders", 345th Bomb Group "Air Apaches". Over Wakde Island on May 11,1944. (USAAF photo via Wikipedia)
North American B-25D-5-NA Mitchell s/n 41-30024 500th Bomb Squadron “Rough Raiders”, 345th Bomb Group “Air Apaches”. Over Wakde Island on May 11,1944. (USAAF photo via Wikipedia)

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