The famed “Tondelayo” of the 345th Bombardment Group known as the “Air Apaches” as it served in the 500th BS. The Tondelayo was one of three B-25Ds that sunk a 6,000-ton freighter in the South Pacific during World War II. Its story was unique in the fact that During the battle, the Tondelayo’s engine was shot out and for over an hour it combated 50 Japanese fighter planes as it headed down the New Britain coast. The other two accompanying B-25s were shot down during the battle. The plane’s turret gunner was given credit for shooting down five Japanese fighters and the crew earned the Distinguished Unit Citation and Silver Stars. Despite tremendous damage “Tondelayo” was returned to service after it was repaired… like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
Tondelayo was named after the sexy actress Hedy Lamar’s character “Tondelayo” in the 1942 film White Cargo.