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Vintage WWII B25 Bomber Ride Raffle

Vintage WWII B25 Bomber Ride Raffle

by General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum

The General Carl Spaatz National USAAF Museum in Boyertown is conducting a raffle for a free ride in “Panchito,” a vintage B25 bomber, during the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s WWII Air Show in Reading on June 8. Raffle tickets are $10 and can be purchased online now at or the #spaatzmuseum Facebook page. Ticket sales will stop at midnight on May 26. Four winners will be drawn on Memorial Day, May 27.

In addition, all paid visitors to the Spaatz Museum during the raffle period will receive one free raffle ticket.

Most B-25s in American service were used in the war against Japan in Asia and the Pacific. Mitchell Bombers fought from the Northern Pacific to the South Pacific and the Far East. These areas included the campaigns in the Aleutian Islands, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, New Britain, China, and Burma, and the island-hopping campaign in the Central Pacific, as well as in the Doolittle Raid over Japan.

The B-25: Mention the B-25 or “Mitchell” to many people and they are likely to respond: “Oh, the Doolittle Raid.” While the attack on mainland Japan on April 18, 1942, was the most famous of its missions, North American Aviation’s magnificent medium bomber played a much larger part in World War II.

The “Panchito”: The B-25J, serial number 43-28147, was assigned to Captain Don Seiler of the 396th Bomb Squadron. Capt. Seiler named his new plane “Panchito” after the feisty Mexican rooster from the 1943 animated musical “The Three Caballeros.”

Local Interest: In the original crew corporals William and Robert Miller. Corporals William and Robert Miller were identical twins from Hummelston, Pennsylvania. Bill Miller was the flight engineer and top turret gunner while his brother, Bob, was tail gunner and armorer. Bill liked this arrangement since they could check on each other visually while on missions. Because the Army Air Forces policy, which allowed them to be assigned together, was so little known, they carried copies of the policy with them.

Q & A:

1. What inspired this raffle for a free ride in a bomber?

    It happened as a result of a casual conversation with Col. Seiwell about creating an impactful event. The inspiration comes from a continuing effort to extend awareness of the Spaatz Museum both locally and to a wider audience. The combination of the Panchito B25 bomber ride and the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s WWII weekend provided a perfect opportunity to showcase the museum’s historical importance.

    2. How is this ride made possible?

      The ride tickets, each a $500 value, were donated by a friend of the museum and the Delaware Aviation Museum, home of The Panchito. Educating the general public about not only “the tools of the Greatest Generation” but also the people who used them is the heartbeat of the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation’s mission.

      3. Is there a Boyertown historical connection to the Panchito?

      Not to Panchito itself. However, General Spaatz was in command of the B-25 bomber groups that were used to great effect against the infamous German Africa Corps during the allied campaigns in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy during 1942 and ’43.

      4. Who owns this vintage bomber?

      Larry Kelley, the cofounder and executive director of the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation. The cornerstone aircraft of the museum, and Kelley’s most-prized plane, is a gleaming B-25J, christened Panchito.

      Please note that Larry Kelley is himself a story: ( and (

      5. What do you hope this experience provides to the winner?

      The B25 was never a comfortable ride. It was a durable workhorse built to absorb incredible damage and keep flying. We believe that anyone, whether history buff or not, will walk away with a tremendous appreciation for the men who flew these planes during the war, and their bravery and accomplishments; remembering that most of them were barely into their 20s.

      6. How does the raffle benefit the museum?

      The museum relies heavily on donations from members and the public. Our wish is that this raffle will provide funds for its continuing operations while making the Spaatz Museum known to a larger regional and national audience.