James B Barber

The President of the United States takes great pleasure in presenting the Distinguished Flying Cross to Staff Sergeant James B. Barber for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight as a B-24 Aerial Gunner on high-altitude bombing missions over occupied Continental Europe from 4 December 1944 to 2 March 1945. During this period, Sergeant Barber risked his life three times to save the aircraft and crew despite extreme low temperatures and heavy enemy anti-aircraft fire. On 4 December 1944, after the bomb run, two armed bombs hung precariously in the bomb bay, precluding closing the doors. Sergeant Barber removed his parachute and oxygen mask, climbed into the open bomb bay and somehow managed to jettison the bombs. On 21 February 1945, the bomb bay doors were jammed open, severely limiting the aircraft’s range. Again, Sergeant Barber removed his parachute and oxygen mask, climbed into the open bomb bay, and unjammed the doors. On 2 March 1945, despite the intense cold and heavy enemy flak in the target area, Sergeant Barber immediately entered the open bomb bay, leaving his chest pack parachute and oxygen mask behind. While standing on one foot, he stretched across the open bay and kicked the bomb doors several times with his other foot until the spent cartridges were dislodged and the doors could be closed. The professional competence, aerial skill, and devotion to duty displayed by Sergeant Barber reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army Air Corps.