While researching the B-17 crash in Denison 75 years ago (see the May 3 Denison Review), I happened across the story of another World War II bomber with a connection to the area.
It’s also an aircraft with a tie to Vail native William Dieter, who was killed in action during the first raid on Japan during World War II.
His aircraft was the same type as shown above, which appeared on the front page of the April 27, 1944, Denison Review.
The Review story noted the bomber was an improved version of the plane used in the Doolittle Raid.
The schoolchildren of Crawford County bought and sold War Bond Stamps to pay for the construction of the North American B-25 Mitchell bomber, which was given the name “Wild Rose of Iowa.”
The name was selected by a local committee in the fall of 1943 after the children had raised the funds to pay for the bomber.
The children had earlier sold enough bonds and stamps to buy 275 jeeps.
The fund drives were directed by Mrs. A. A. Kregness and Crawford County Superintendent F. N. Olry, according to the Review.
The new plane was purchased two years after the raid that made it famous.
The fate of Dieter was unknown at that time the story appeared in the Review – and would not be revealed until after the war had ended.
The story does not include any information about the specific aircraft, so I haven’t been able to determine what became of it.
Nearly 10,000 B-25s were built during the war, but only about 100 survive today.
Most were scrapped in the decades after the war.
I’d still like to create a memorial for Dieter at the Crawford County Courthouse.
The idea is to build a large miniature of the USS Hornet with 16 B-25 bombers on its deck, which is how the raid was launched.
It occurs to me that if this comes to be, we should have a larger-scale model of a B-25 to go along with it.
At the scale of a ship model, a B-25 will only be an inch or two long.
The plane should be painted to represent Dieter’s aircraft, The Green Hornet.
I’ve had contact with several people interested in helping to create the display, but I’m still looking for more.
If you’re interested, please give me a call at 712-263-2122 or email me at email@example.com.
I’ll let you know what happens.