Friday, May 16, 2014

The Friday Flyby - 16 May


The 67th Fighter Squadron has been around since 20 November 1940. That's 74 years, heck that's older than... Well, let's just say that's older than quite a few people I know.

I have chosen the 67th as this week's famous aviation unit. Why? Well, for one thing they recently won the Raytheon Trophy (see here) and for another I used to work on their jets back when I was a lad assigned to the 18th Tactical Fighter Wing at Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan. Of course, back then they flew (wait for it...) the F-4C Phantom! (Yay, cue applause...)

EF-4C Wild Weasel flying over North Vietnam
I may have actually worked on that particular bird shown above. Though it's hard to make out, the tail number is 63-7474, about which Joe Baugher's excellent site has this to say:
McDonnell F-4C-18-MC Phantom - Tail #63-7474 modified as EF-4C Wild Weasel flak suppression aircraft.  Cut up for scrap at Incirlik AB, Turkey in spring of 1996.
Well, that sucks...

But there weren't that many EF-4Cs in the inventory, I'm pretty sure most of them went to Kadena after Vietnam. So I'm pretty sure I worked on that jet. Of course, after 37 years (and there being 70+ F-4s on Okinawa at the time, not counting the RF-4Cs) all those tail numbers start to run together. Only 7463 remains clearly in my memory, and she didn't belong to the Fighting Cocks.
67th Squadron Patch, which goes back a long ways!
You can see the patch up there on that F-86 from the Korean War and just below on a P-39 from World War II.

P-39 of the 67th Fighter Squadron
Henderson Field Guadalcanal, 1942

(Photo courtesy of Robert L Ferguson)

The patch can also be seen on the photo of the leaders of the 347th Fighter Group, the Pacific theater. (More excellent 67th photos can be seen here.)

Left to Right... Leonard Shapiro - 68th Fighter Squadron C.O., Don Lee - 67th Fighter Squadron C.O.,
Shelby England - 347th Executive officer (KIA), Leo Dusard - 347th Group C.O.,
Robert Westbrook - 347th Deputy Group C.O. (KIA), John Z. Endress - 339th Squadron C.O. (KIA) and
"Snipper" an Australian Border Collie.  Of the six shown only Leonard Shapiro is still alive.

The 67th have flown a number of different aircraft since their inception -
  • P-35 (1941)
  • P-36 Hawk (1941)
  • P-400 (1942) This was really just the "export" version of the P-39.
  • P-39 Airacobra (1942–1944)
  • P-38 Lightning (1944–1946)
  • P-51 Mustang (1946, 1948–1953)
  • P-47 Thunderbolt (1946–1948)
  • F-80 Shooting Star (1946–1947, 1949–1950)
  • F-86 Sabre (1953–1957)
  • F-100 Super Sabre (1957–1962)
  • F-105 Thunderchief (1962–1967)
  • F-4 Phantom II (1968–1979)
  • F-15 Eagle (1979–present)
Seversky P-35
Curtiss P-36 Hawk

Bell P-400 (P-39) Airacobra (80th Fighter Squadron "Headhunters," 8th FG)

Oh yeah, that preceding picture is of an 80th Fighter Squadron P-400 of the 8th Fighter Group. Those guys also go by the name "Juvats" these days. (Does that ring any bells?) Yup, I worked on their aircraft 40 years later in Korea. FRaVMotC Juvat (surprise, surprise) flew their F-4D Phantoms at the same time. (Yup, I mentioned Phantoms. Again.)

P-39

The 67th posing with one of their P-38 Lightnings (Source)

The 67th (now known as a Fighter Bomber Squadron) flew P-51s in Korea. (Source)

P-47 Thunderbolt, aka 'The Jug"

F-80 Pilots of 67th FBS and 12th FBS, 18th Fighter Bomber Wing, Japan (Source)
Major James P. Hagerstrom's MiG Poison. The unit is the 67th FBS/18th FBG, Osan AB, May 1963. (Source)
F-100D, The Hun

67th Tactical Fighter Squadron F-105, we've met this bird before.
(Flown by LtCol Robbie Risner when he was shot down over Route Pack 6, North Vietnam.)

LtCol James Robinson "Robbie" Risner 67th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS)

67th TFS EF-4C, Korat, Thailand
(To AMARC* as FP088 07 October 1987)

Of course, these days the 67th flies the F-15 Eagle. The 67th were on Okinawa from 1976 to 1978 when I was there (again, flying the F-4C and EF-4C) and they are still on Okinawa. Oh, did I mention that they have won the Raytheon Trophy, twice, in the last few years? Well, you should remember from this post. If that video wasn't enough, here's the one they made back when they won in 2011.


The Fighting Cocks of the 67th Fighter Squadron.

Sierra Hotel!

Three U.S. Air Force F-15 Eagle aircraft, from the 44th and 67th Fighter Squadrons, fly in formation after
an aerial refueling during an operational readiness exercise over Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan.

(USAF photo by Master Sgt. Richard Freeland Source)

Eagle of the 67th

The Fighting Cocks
(Ron Wong)















*AMARC = Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center, The Boneyard, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ.

21 comments:

  1. Thanks, nice post. Needed it, the wife's been working me hard this week moving her store. For some reason, moving in the modern age isn't as easy as I remember. Back in the day, it was just throw everything in the back of the Vega, put on the sunglasses and drive. Thank the Lord for Alleve!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember when I was a young airman, all my stuff would fit in one box. Not a big box either.

      Alleve, good for what ails you!

      Delete
  2. I think the Sabre is the prettiest jet, ever. YMMV, of course, and we mean no disrespect to the Phantom. But it is what it is...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Won't disagree with you Buck, the Sabre is one of the most beautiful jets ever built.

      And no one (to my knowledge anyway) has ever called the Phantom "pretty." Big and brutal, sure. Pretty, no.

      Delete
    2. I don't know. I think the short nosed C's and D's just looked odd, like the nose was just stuck on as an afterthought. But I think the E model looks kinda elegant. Refer back to the Israeli Air Force Post. I think the long nose makes the whole fuselage look a lot sleeker. Kinda Pretty? Now, the Eagle (light gray and single seat version of course), that is a beautiful bird. But I could be a touch biased.

      Delete
    3. Hhmm, of course I'm partial to the C's and D's (for those are the ones subjected to my tender care so many years ago) but yes, of the F-4 clan, the E's are the "prettiest", all things being relative. Yes, the F-15 (single seat, etc., etc.) is a very pretty aircraft (yet lethal looking at the same time).

      It's all relative, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, etc., etc.

      But whichever bird gets you home at the end of the day, that's the one I want!

      Delete
    4. Don't know if I've mentioned the brand new Captain (me being comparatively and old Captain having been one for a couple of years) flying on my wing one day. Lights the AB to get some separation as he's still got fuel in the wing tanks having taken off a little later than me. We're planning to run an intercept to a BFM fight (Having checked the Acronym log and finding it lacking, BFM- Basic Fighter Maneuvers. 1V1 Air to Air fighting and Pure D Fun!). Having gotten the required 40 mile separation, I call the turn inbound. He starts the turn and lights the AB again, the left engine seizes going from a bazillion and a half RPM to 0 in 1/2 of a nanofart. Compressor blades go everywhere. Torque causes the aircraft to pitch up with 10+ g then back down with -4G an over stress both ways. He calls the knock it off and I look up out of the radar. I have no problem seeing the fire from 35 miles. He's right over the base and pulls the destroyed engine to off. He's got a fire light on the left and an overheat on the right. Fire light goes out so he sets up one big swoop toward the base as I rejoin. Puts the gear down and it thankfully complies, flaps, not so much. Hook comes down. Approach end engagement. Back seater is looking up in the overhead mirror as the fire reignites and sees a fireball coming forward. The aircraft reaches the end of the barrier with and the fuel hits the forward end of the tanks and starts backwards taking the fireball with it. Pilot is shutting down the aircraft when he looks up and sees the WSO sprinting away from the jet. Fire trucks are on scene, and put the fire out. Right where the chevron is on the left side is a hole big enough to step in to and from the top of the spine to the wing. Standing at the back of the tail looking at the longitudinal axis of the aircraft, you can see about a 5 degree bend in the keel. She never flew again, but she got her guys home. I do love me some McDonnell Douglas products (they'll never be Boeing to me)

      Delete
    5. Sure sounds like that guy had the angels on his wing that day!

      Great story Juvat. As summer approaches, contact me on Guard when you get the chance.

      Delete
  3. Some fine, fine aircraft in those pics.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 67th has indeed had some fine mounts.

      Delete
  4. I always heard that a P400 was a P40 with a Zero on it's tail! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just noticed. All three of my operational squadrons are mentioned in this post! WooHoo! Trifecta!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whoa! So I'm guessing, 80th at Kunsan, 67th and 44th at Kadena?

      Inquiring minds wanna know...

      Delete
    2. Hhmm, so I know that the 80th is a given. I mean come on, Juvat, Juvats... But the other two, dang?

      Okay, the 12th has to be one, they flew the Eagle on Okinawa until 1999 (or 2000). Now I'm grasping at straws for a third, the 68th? They flew the Phantom from '75 to '87 which is in the ballpark time-wise. But they were at Moody. You've never mentioned Moody. Okay, you have successfully "Stumped the Sarge" - though really that's not that hard.

      Enlighten us Juvat. Google can only take me so far...

      Delete
    3. Airspace over the field.

      Delete
    4. Damn! This is gonna be hard.

      Delete
    5. Last shot - 80th, 12th and 339th.

      My evidence to support the latter is from Wikipedia -

      The 339th Tactical Fighter Squadron was activated on 30 December 1975. They were inactivated on 1 July 1983 (personnel and aircraft reactivated as 69th Tactical Fighter Squadron). Consolidated (1 October 1992) with the 2875th Test Squadron, which was designated, and activated, on 15 January 1988. Then redesignated as the 339th Test Squadron on 1 October 1992 and redesignated again as the 339th Flight Test Squadron on 15 March 1994. The squadron is responsible for conducting flight tests on the C-130 Hercules, the C-5 Galaxy and F-15 Eagle after program depot maintenance is completed.

      And you were an Eagle driver too. The 339th can be made to fit in two ways, F-4 and F-15. They were at Moody and when re-activated they were at Robins, aka Warner-Robins.

      And that has to be my final answer. (All sources have been exhausted!)

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)