|Name:||Rex T. Barber|
|Birth Day:||May 6, 1917|
|Death Date:||Jul 26, 2001 (age 84)|
|Birth Place:||Culver, United States|
As per our current Database, Rex T. Barber died on Jul 26, 2001 (age 84).
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He studied agricultural engineering at Oregon State University before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1940.
Born and raised in Culver, Oregon, Barber's parents were Charlotte F Barber and William C Barber. He was a student at Linfield College and then Oregon State College in Corvallis; he majored in agricultural engineering from 1937 to 1940 before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps in September 1940.
Barber received his commission as a U.S. Army officer and his pilot's wings on October 31, 1941. He joined the 70th Pursuit Squadron, which arrived at Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, in December 1942. Flying a Bell P-39 Airacobra, he scored his first victory by downing a Japanese bomber on the 28th. Upon transfer to the 339th Squadron, he began flying P-38 Lightnings and claimed two Zero fighters on April 7.
After his tour of duty ended in June 1943, then-Captain Barber requested a return to combat. Late that year, he joined the 449th Fighter Squadron in China, still flying P-38s. He claimed three further Japanese planes probably destroyed and damaged, but he was shot down on his 139th mission, bailing out near Kiukiang on April 29. He was rescued by Chinese civilians, who treated his injuries and escorted him to safety five weeks later. At the end of the war, Barber attained the rank of major and commanded one of America's first jet squadrons. He retired as a colonel in 1961.
Barber married Margaret I Trollope (February 11, 1918 – April 26, 2005) at Tyndall Field on October 3, 1947. They had two sons, Rex Barber Jr. and Richard Barber.
On April 18, Lieutenant Barber figured prominently in the Yamamoto interception, also known as Operation Vengeance. Intelligence sources had learned that Yamamoto would be flying in a "Betty" bomber on an inspection tour of Japanese bases in the northern Solomon Islands. Historian Donald P. Bourgeois credits Barber with the sole kill of Yamamoto's aircraft. In 1991, Barber and Captain Thomas George Lanphier, Jr. were officially credited with half a kill each in Yamamoto's bomber after the Air Force reviewed the incident. Barber also shared a second Betty destroyed on the same mission. In 2003, Barber was credited by the Governor and Legislature of Oregon with the sole kill after an inspection analyzed the crash site and determined the path of the bullet impacts, thereby validating Barber's account and invalidating Lanphier's claim. However, despite numerous appeals, the US Air Force refused to reverse its 1991 ruling giving each pilot half credit for the kill.
On April 18, 2003, Governor Ted Kulongoski proclaimed the day "Rex T. Barber Day." The previous week, the Oregon State Legislature had declared that the new bridge on U.S. Highway 97 over the Crooked River was to be named the Rex T. Barber Veterans Memorial Bridge in his honor. (This bridge replaced the Crooked River High Bridge.) The new bridge, plaque and kiosk honoring Barber were dedicated on August 9, 2003 at Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint.
Currently, Rex T. Barber is 104 years, 4 months and 14 days old. Rex T. Barber will celebrate 105th birthday on a Friday 6th of May 2022.
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