Captain Norman Barr, Jr.

Corsair

Captain Norman L. Barr, Jr.

(May 19, 1923-December 13, 2018)

Captain Norman L. Barr, Jr.

A native resident of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, Norman L. Barr, Jr. graduated from William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia in 1941. In 1942, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a Naval Aviation cadet. After successive stages of training at several Naval Air stations he was assigned to the station at Pensacola Florida. In 1944, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant Naval Aviator in the U.S. Marine Corps. A special combat instrument course was being offered by the Marine Corps on the west coast to help experienced fighter and dive bomber pilots to fly better and more safely. Lt. Barr accepted and was assigned to Marine Corps Air Station, Santa Barbara.

Lt. Barr had additional training at the Navy’s flying boat school flying the Consolidated PBY Catalina. At the time, this was an unusual course of aviation training, however, WWII events dictated Lt. Barr’s aviation career destiny. As a result of Japanese air superiority, and frequently poor weather conditions in the Solomon Islands area of the South Pacific, early in the War, the Marine Corps was losing an unacceptable number of combat pilots. As these pilots and planes fell into the ocean, the ability to rescue surviving pilots was very deficient. Since the Navy could not be of much help at that time, it was decided the Marine Corps should have its own air/sea rescue capability. This required seaplanes, and pilots to fly them. This initiative was later abandoned for more practical options such as the Navy air/sea rescue squadrons, submarines and PT boats.

Consolidated PBY Catalina

In addition to combat instrument flight instruction of experienced pilots returning from the Pacific, Lt. Barr got to be a general utility and ferry pilot for just about every type of aircraft the Marine Corps flew. He was promoted to 1st Lieutenant and joined the Marine Transport Squadron 152, MAG-25, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Flying primarily the F4U-Corsair, Lt. Barr participated in and received an Air Medal for flying numerous missions in the combat area of the Southwest Pacific War from October 1944 to April 1945. He was later promoted to Captain and left the military after graduating from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine in 1948.

In 1950 he married Kaye M. Barr (Muehleck) and went on to start a 20-year career in the manufacturing and construction business, through which he and his family traveled to various parts of the U.S., England and Canada. After serving as executive vice president for the Canadian subsidiary of Turner & Newall, Ltd., Capt. Barr and his family returned to the U.S. where he joined Merrill Lynch. For 20 years he managed several offices in the Philadelphia, Delaware Valley area and retired in 1988 settling in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. During his retirement, Capt. Barr was lucky enough to have found some of his Marine Corps buddies from MAG-25 and participated in a number of reunions. He was an avid traveler, having been around the world twice. He enjoyed fishing, golf, skeet shooting and bridge and lived a long life until the age of 95, passing away in December 2018. He is survived by his two daughters; Lynn and Wendy and twin granddaughters; Alyssa and Amanda.

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