Maj. Raymond H. Wilkins leads a formation of eight North American B-25 Mitchells against enemy shipping in Simpson Harbor, Rabaul, New Britain, on his 87th combat mission. Starting the attack, his airplane is hit almost immediately, the right wing is damaged and control is rendered extremely difficult. He holds fast, leads his squadron into the attack, strafes a group of small harbor vessels and then, at low level, attacks an enemy destroyer, which explodes. He also attacks and explodes a transport. As he begins to withdraw, a heavy cruiser bars the path, so he goes in for a strafing run to neutralize the cruiser’s guns and attract their fire. Wilkins’s airplane is damaged beyond control and crashes into the sea. He is posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic self-sacrifice. Wilkins AFS at Shelby, Ohio, was named in his honor during its period of activation.
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