Barber, Rex Theodore, born on 06-05-1917 in Culver, Oregan, son of William Chauncey “Bill” Barber en Charlotte Goldie Barber. Raised in Culver, Oregon, he was a student at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon for a period of time. He before being drafted was accepted at Oregon State University and graduated from that University in 1940. In September of that year Barber enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a private first class, prior to being accepted for flight training in March of 1941. Lieutenant Barber was assigned to the 70th Fighter Squadron , 35th Fighter Group under colonel Edwin Allen Doss
who died age 81, on 07-01-1996, in Riverside, California and sent to the Fiji Islands, arriving there on 12-01-1942. He scored one victory with a twin-engine Nell on 28-12-1942. He was credited with his next two victories, a pair of Zekes, downed near Cape Esperance, on 07-04-1943. On 18-04-1943 Rex participated in one of the most interesting missions of the War, the interception and destruction of the Betty bomber carrying Japanese Fleet Admiral, Pearl Harbour, Isoruko Yamamoto the Commander of the Japanese Combined Fleet, and mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The mission was commanded by Major John William Mitchell. He was awarded the Navy Cross, the Army Distinguished Service Cross and many other awards. He retired as a Colonel after 23 years of all fighter unit service. John Mitchell died on 15-11-1995.
While a total of sixteen aircraft were involved, only four were to actually attack the Betty. With Yamamoto noted for his punctuality and American code-breakers having deciphered his itinerary, Mitchell’s flight had a fighting chance of pulling off the mission. Yamamoto’s flight arrived on schedule. There were two Betty bombers and only four escorting fighters. Barber, Lieutenant Besby Frank Holmes.
Holmes died 23-07-2006 in Greenbrae, California, he was 88 years old. Captain, Tom Lanphier got in the heat of the action. Barber got hits on both the Betty’s and also bagged a Zeke. The Army Air Force decided after the mission to give equal credit to both Lamphier and Barber for downing the Betty which Yamamoto was a passenger in. Following the War, Rex commanded the 29th Fighter Squadron of the 412th Fighter Group . Later he would command one of the Air Force’s early jet squadrons flying the P-59A Air comet and the P-80. Rex retired from the Air Force in 1961. His numerous decorations include the Navy Cross, the Silver Star with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
Rex Barber married Margaret I Trollope (February 11, 1918 – April 26, 2005) at Tyndall Field on 03-10-1947. They had two sons, Rex Barber Jr. and Richard Barber.
Death and burial ground of Barber, Rex Theodore.
Rex Barber died peacefully at home in Terrebonne, Oregon on 26-07-2001, age 84 and is buried on the Redmond Memorial Cemetery, in Oregon, Section L-Grave 548.