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 Rex T. Barber

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Rex T. Barber

  • Birth 6 May 1917 Culver, Jefferson County, Oregon, USA
  • Death 26 Jul 2001 Terrebonne, Deschutes County, Oregon, USA
  • Burial Redmond, Deschutes County, Oregon, USA
  • Plot Section L, Plot 548
  • Memorial ID 13262863

World War II United States Flying Ace. He has been credited with shooting down the bomber carrying Isoroku Yamamoto, the admiral of the entire Japanese fleet and mastermind behind the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, and killing him on April 18, 1943. As a youth, he was fascinated by the stories told by his uncle Edgar King, who was a World War I pilot. He attended Linfield College and then Oregon State, majoring in agricultural engineering. Before he received his degree, he decided to enlist in the Army Air Corps in September 1940. The Lieutenant's first duty assignment was with the 70th Fighter Squadron at Hamilton Field, Calif. After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the squadron was moved to Guadalcanal, where they used twin-engine Lockheed P-38 Lightnings. Then a coded message was intercepted, telling in detail the planned route and scheduled arrival for Yamamoto's flight to the island of Bougainville. Major John W. Mitchell then planned, led and chose four pilots, including Capt. Tom Lanphier and Barber, for the mission. And the group had to do it without any hint the Japanese code had been broken. Originally Lanphier and Barber each were given half-credit for the kill, but recent evidence shows Barber brought down the aircraft alone and unassisted. Barber flew 110 combat missions from Guadalcanal and after being transferred to China in early 1944, flew another 28. He was credited with five confirmed kills and three probables, plus the sinking of one destroyer. He was awarded the Navy Cross by Admiral Bull Halsey, two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart, numerous medals and ribbons. After the war, he was a test pilot for the Lockheed, P-80 Shooting Star, the country's first operational jet fighter. After more than 20 years, he retired from active Air Force duty as a colonel in 1961. In April 2003, the Oregon Legislature renamed the new bridge over the Crooked River on U.S. Highway 97 the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge. The span joins Jefferson and Deschutes counties where he lived before and after his military career.

Bio by: Ron Coons





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Ron Coons
  • Added: 7 Feb 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 13262863
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Rex T. Barber (6 May 1917–26 Jul 2001), Find A Grave Memorial no. 13262863, citing Redmond Memorial Cemetery, Redmond, Deschutes County, Oregon, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .