Last Known Activity Participated in Operation Vengeance, the mission to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto, and credited with his shoot down, however controversial... (See http://b-29s-over-korea.com/rexbarber/barber.html)
Barber was born and raised in Culver, Oregon. He was a student at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon for a period of time, before being drafted. Military service
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, 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.
On April 18, Lieutenant Barber figured prominently in the Yamamoto interception. 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. Most military historians credit Barber with the sole kill of Yamamoto's aircraft. Previously, Barber and Captain Thomas George Lanphier, Jr. were officially credited with half a kill each in Yamamoto's bomber. Barber also shared a second Betty destroyed on the same mission. In 2003, he was officially credited 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.
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 was awarded the Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart,an Air Medal and numerous other awards over his military career, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars Gold Medal of Merit.
Detailed histories, all copywritten, can be found in the Notes/Links section
Other Comments: Notes/Links:
http://bluebook.state.or.us/notable/notbarber.htm http://b-29s-over-korea.com/rexbarber/barber.html http://home.att.net/~jbaugher1/p38_18.html http://www.madraspioneer.com/News.html#barber (info on assign) http://www.oregon.com/history/biography/rex_barber.cfm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_T._Barber http://www.syma.org/oct99.pdf (correction of records regarding shoot down) http://www.sprucegoose.org/aircraft_artifacts/Exhibits/Hall%20of%20Honor/col_rex_barber.html http://www.southernoregonwarbirds.us/fa0.html http://www.legionofvalor.com/citation_parse.php?uid=1060201966 http://www.crownpointchalet.com/pdf/admiral.isoroku.yamamoto.pdf http://ussslcca25.com/who-shot.htm http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMKQ9 http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/st/~doniloharmon/page18.html (Barber in China where he became squadron commander until he was injured from his bail out after being shot down in April 1944)