Barber, Rex Theodore, Col

 Service Photo   Service Details
34 kb
View Time Line
Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
AAF MOS 1056-Pilot, Two-Engine Fighter
Last AFSC Group
Pilot (Officer)
Primary Unit
1945-1946, AAF MOS 1055, 29th Fighter Squadron
Service Years
1940 - 1961
Officer Collar Insignia

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

34 kb

Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by SSgt Harry McCown (Mac) to remember Barber, Rex Theodore, Col USAF(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Airman and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Culver, Oregon
Last Address
Terrebonne, Oregon

Date of Passing
Jul 26, 2001
Location of Interment
Redmond Memorial Cemetery - Redmond, Oregon
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section L, Plot 548

 Official Badges 

 Unofficial Badges 

Air Ace American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Air Force Memorial (AFM)American Fighter Aces Association
  2015, Air Force Memorial (AFM) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2015, American Fighter Aces Association

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity
Participated in Operation Vengeance, the mission to shoot down Admiral Yamamoto, and credited with his shoot down, however controversial... (See

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.
[edit]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: (info on assign) (correction of records regarding shoot down) (Barber in China where he became squadron commander until he was injured from his bail out after being shot down in April 1944)
 Photo Album   (More...

  1943-1943, 339th Fighter Squadron

First Lieutenant
From Month/Year
- / 1943
To Month/Year
- / 1943
339th Fighter Squadron Unit Page
First Lieutenant
Not Specified
Solomon Islands
 339th Fighter Squadron Details

339th Fighter Squadron
Combat - Fighter Units
Parent Unit
Fighter Units
Air Squadron
Created/Owned By
Not Specified

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2019
My Photos For This Unit
No Available Photos
7 Members Also There at Same Time
339th Fighter Squadron

Mitchell, John William, Col, (1934-1958) Major
Hine, Raymond K., 1st Lt, (1941-1943) First Lieutenant
Holmes, Besby Frank, Lt Col, (1941-1968) A23 AAF MOS 1056 First Lieutenant
King, Benjamin Hardin, Brig Gen, (1942-1971) A23 AAF MOS 1056 First Lieutenant
Moore, Allan, Maj, (1941-1949) A23 AAF MOS 1056 First Lieutenant
Toland, Butler Bell, Lt Col, (1941-1968) A23 AAF MOS 1056 First Lieutenant
White, Donald Griffith, 1st Lt, (1942-1943) A23 AAF MOS 1056 First Lieutenant

Copyright Inc 2003-2011