Happy Birthday, “Grumpy”

On the occasion of Grumpy’s 70th Birthday, which coincides with the gathering in Dayton of three of four surviving Doolittle Raiders, let’s consider the status of the B-25 Mitchell fleet. Thanks to David Poissant and the 2nd Tactical Air Force Medium Bomber Association for keeping track.

There are forty-one airworthy Mitchells with twelve more being restored.

To determine age, the North American serial number tells all. B-25/40-2168, “Miss Hap,” provided General Arnold’s personal transportation long before being added to the collection of American Air Power Museum in Farmingdale, NY. It is the oldest airworthy B-25, though never a bomber. The oldest bomber is B-25D/43-3318, “Grumpy,” wearing RAF 98th Squadron markings in honor of the original “Grumpy” Mitchell, a survivor of 125 combat missions in the toughest months of WW II. Other airworthy survivors manufactured in 1943 include “Yankee Warrior” (Yankee Air Museum), “Barbie III” (History Flight Inc.), “Yellow Rose” (Yellow Rose Squadron), “Apache Princess” (Fantasy of Flight), “Pacific Princess” (Aero Trader), and “Maid in the Shade” (Commemorative Air Force).

Fifty-two others are on static display in museums and air parks. Of these, twenty-seven are in the United States and four more in Canada.

In Dayton this weekend, the Raiders opened the “Doolittle Cognac” for a final toast. At HFF, we flew Grumpy around Mr. Baker and Hurricane Ridge. Here’s to the next seventy years!

John Sessions