On 13 June 1949, a flight of fighters closed in on their target: Misawa Air Force Base. Misawa scrambled fighters to intercept the incoming aircraft, and soon, nearly two dozen aircraft are downed or on fire. Sadly, this was a drill and all of the aircraft were American.
Leading the attacking formation was 1st Lt. James Patrick Hurley (b. 18 January 1925), a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy (Class of ’46), from the 40th Fighter Squadron, 35th Fighter Group out of Johnson Air Force Base. Hurley’s F-51 Mustang collided with another Mustang flown by Lt. Stewart Abbott Young, Jr. (b. 22 March 1934) of the 8th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group, who had scrambled to intercept. Young was killed when his crippled fighter smashed into the flight line. The Mustang impacted among several dozen fully fueled F-80 Shooting Star jets, which were prepared for an operational readiness test the following day. Continue reading “Someone had a really bad day”
During the Cold War, U.S. aircraft designers produced some absolutely incredible warplanes. Looking back from an era of stealth technology and fifth-generation jets, some of these aircraft may seem primitive and a few are remembered for their flaws, but make no mistake: these machines were truly cutting edge in their day. Not only our freedom and security, but that of the rest of the world, depended on holding the edge over the communists. Because had it not been for a constant output of highly advanced and steadily improving fighters, attack planes, and interceptors, we might not have deterred a possible third world war between the United States and the Soviet Union. Below are just some of these amazing platforms that kept the Cold War cold.
By the time the United States Air Force became a standalone service in 1947, the dawning of the jet age was rapidly making our stockpiles of piston-engine aircraft left over from World War II obsolete. Republic Aviation produced over 15,000 P-47s from 1941-1945, and made constant improvements to the aircraft. By the time the United States invaded Normandy, the rugged fighter-bomber could either escort heavy bombers into Europe or devastate Axis ground targets with its eight M2 .50-cal. machineguns and 2,500 pounds of bombs. It was re-designated the F-47 in 1948 and would be retired from active duty Air Force service in 1949.