With jobs hard to attain, I
enlisted in the Us Army on July 23, 1940, as a private making $21.00 per
month. My unit was The 69th Coast Artillery Detachment at Fort Crockett,
Texas. With the war raging in Europe, the U.S. Army was expanding for the
war that everyone knew was coming. I advanced in Rank to PFC, CPL, SGT,
and to Staff, SGT. I applied for and was accepted as a Cadet in the Army
Air Corp Pilot Training program. Igraduated as a 2nd Lt.,
and with those Silver wings, I flew the P-47 Thunderbolt and the P- 51
Mustang. I served 5 years during WW 2 and after leaving the Air Force, I
joined The 155th Fighter Squadron of The Tennessee Air National Guard. In
1950 during the Korean War, our unit was recalled to active duty for 24
months. Shortly after being recalled, I was assigned to the Far East Air
Material Command at Kisarazi Air Force Base as a jet maintenance test
pilot. I flew the F-80, F86, F-84, F-94, and the T-6 Trainer. I also
tested and flew the various planes for the Army such as the L-19, which
was used as an observation plane by the Army. My Boss was Capt. Stan
Zarosky, who was a career regular Air Force officer – He was a good guy. I retired
with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Command
Pilot, Aircraft Commander, with approximately 10,000 hours of flying time. I served
5 years active duty in World War II as
a fighter pilot and I also served 24 months during the Korean War as a
fighter pilot and jet maintenance test pilot. I served 26 years in the
Tennessee Air National Guard.
During those 26 years we had
several missions such as P- 51 photo recon, B-26 photo Recon, and RF 84
photo recon. We received the C-97 Boeing Transport with a worldwide
mission. We flew cargo and military personnel worldwide. After 7years with
the C-97 we lost it and was assigned the C 124 Lockheed Transport. I flew
the 124 for 7years, and it was at this time that I decided to retire.
This is the 155th Fighter Squadron, Tennessee Air National Guard, High
Speed Acrobatic Team
1947 - 1949 ). We represented the entire Air Force Reserve and Air
National Guard at the
Cleveland Air Races in 1948.
The P-51D was my favorite War Plane of all time that I
had the pleasure of flying,
except mine had a different paint job on it than this
one pictured does.
History of The P-51D
The P-51B and P-51C were excellent aircraft that served
until the end of the war. The shortcomings of the B/C models were
well-known and evolved into a new model of P-51, the P-51D. The B and C
models suffered poor rearward visibility and gun jamming during high-G
manuevers. The B/C models only had four .50 cal Brownings (2 in each
wing). Pilots wanted more fire power. NAA also took the oportunity to
make other improvements to the new line.
The new line, designated NA-109, P-51D, was started after the USAAF
ordered 2,500 in July 1943. Interesting is that the XP-51D did not have
a test flight until November 17, 1943, well after the first order was
placed. Deliveries to fighter units began March of 1944 and a good
supply was on hand for the Normandy Invasion, or D-Day.
The signature change in the P-51D line was the new bubble canopy. The
U.S. was behind the Brittish in canopy development. A Brittish company
had designed and built the "Malcolm Hood" which improved visibility to
the rear of the P-51B/C models. The U.S. was not unaware of the
advantages of a bubble canopy design. NAA had built a wooden model of
the P-51 with a bubble canopy for wind tunnel testing. The technology to
build large curves of plexiglass "distortion free" at that time was
being invented and developed.
The Brittish had figured out how to make a bubble (also called
"teardrop") canopy with unobstructed 360 degree view and they were
beginning to use them on the latest model of Spitfires and Typhoons. The
U.S. Army sent Col. Mark Bradley to England in January of 1943 to find
out the workings of this new canopy and then find a way to get them on
U.S. fighters. Bradley returned and began to pursue ways to incorporate
the new style. The first U.S. fighter so tested was a Republic P-47.
This is the first fighter I flew after graduating from pilot training
but mine didn't look as pretty as this restored one does.
The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an American single-engine,
single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft that first
flew in 1938. It was used by the air forces of 28 nations, including
those of most Allied powers during World War II, and remained in front
line service until the end of the war. By November 1944, when production
of the P-40 ceased, 13,738 had been built, all at Curtiss-Wright
Corporation's main production facility at Buffalo, New York.
The P-40's lack of a two-stage supercharger made it inferior to
Luftwaffe fighters such as the Messerschmitt Bf 109 or the
Focke-Wulf Fw 190 in high altitude combat and it was rarely used in
operations in Northwest Europe. Between 1941 and 1944, however, the P-40
played a critical role with Allied air forces in three major theaters:
North Africa, the Southwest Pacific and China. It also had a significant
role in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, Alaska and
Italy. The P-40's high altitude performance was not as critical in those
theaters, where it served as an air supremacy fighter, bomber escort and
Republic P-47 Thunderbolt
This is the second fighter I flew in WWII after the
Thunderbolt was the most famous of all the Republic aircraft in WWII.
First flown on 6 May 1941, the P-47 was designed as a (then) large,
high-performance fighter/bomber, utilizing the large Pratt and Whitney
R-2800 Double Wasp engine to give it excellent performance and a large
load-carrying capability. The first deliveries of the P-47 took place in
June 1942, when the US Army Air Corps began flying it in the European
Douglas C -124 Globemaster
This is the military plane I flew for 7 years.
May 1967 brought the introduction of the
C-124 Globemaster, affectionately known as "Old Shakey". Along with
Old Shakey, the group's personnel performed numerous humanitarian
missions as well as routine support to
Military Airlift Command (MAC). The C-124 was given a well-deserved
rest in 1974 when she was retired from military service, reluctantly
giving up her berth to the
Douglas C - 47 “Gooney Bird”
( Civilian Version: DC - 3 )
I flew the
Gooney Bird for 15 years in conjunction with the other aircraft that was
assigned to the
155th Fighter Squadron and the 155th Photo Recon Squadron.
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was a
twin-engine medium transport used by the
, ROK, Australian, Greek, and Thai Air Forces, and by the US
Marine Corps during the Korean War.
The Douglas DC-3 Sleeper Transport
first flew on 17 December 1935. It quickly became the main
aircraft used by US airlines. The US Army Air Force designated
the military version the C-47 Skytrain, but it was more widely
known by its unofficial nickname, “Gooney Bird”. The C-47 was the
mainstay of Allied troop carrier and transport operations during
World War Two. It was also used during the Berlin Airlift in
Douglas A-26 Invader
(Variants/Other Names:Douglas B-26 Invader
I flew this airplane with the 155th Night Photo Recon
Squadron of The Tennessee National Guard.
The A-26, the last aircraft designated as an "attack
bomber," was designed to replace the Douglas A-20 Havoc/Boston. It
incorporated many improvements over the earlier Douglas designs. The
first three XA-26 prototypes first flew in
July 1942, and each was configured differently: Number One as a daylight
bomber with a glass nose, Number Two as a gun-laden night-fighter, and
Number Three as a ground-attack platform, with a 75-millimeter cannon in
the nose. This final variant, eventually called the A-26B,
was chosen for production
The following list of jet fighters shown below, are
ones that I flew on a daily basis, as a jet maintenance test pilot while
I was assigned to Kisrizu Air Force Base in Japan during the Korean War.
These airplanes were brought to Japan on an aircraft carrier and
delivered to Kisrizu Air Force Base to be flight tested before
being assigned to the units in Korea. It was my responsibility along
with Captain Stan Zarkorsky to flight test each aircraft before they
Republic F-80 Shooting Star
Shooting Star was the first USAF aircraft to exceed 500 mph in level
flight, the first American jet airplane to be manufactured in large
quantities and the first USAF jet to be used in combat. Designed in
1943, the XP-80 made its maiden flight on Jan. 8, 1944. Several early
P-80s were sent to Europe for demonstration, but WW II ended before the
aircraft could be employed in combat. (The aircraft was redesignated in
1948 when "P" for "Pursuit" was changed to "F" for "Fighter.") Of 1,731
F-80s built, 798 were F-80Cs.
Although it was designed as a high-altitude interceptor, the F-80C
was used extensively as a fighter-bomber in the Korean Conflict,
primarily for low-level rocket, bomb and napalm attacks against ground
targets. On Nov. 8, 1950, an F-80C flown by Lt. Russell J. Brown, flying
with the 16th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, shot down a Russian-built
MiG-15 in the world's first all-jet fighter air battle.
Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American
turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944
United States Army Air Forces proposal for a "day fighter", the F-84
flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was
plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948 Air Force
review declared it unable to execute any aspect of its intended mission
and considered cancelling the program. The aircraft was not considered
fully operational until the 1949 F-84D model and the design matured only
with the definitive F-84G introduced in 1951. In 1954, the straight-wing
Thunderjet was joined by the swept-wing
F-84F Thunderstreak fighter and RF-84F Thunderflash
photo reconnaissance aircraft.
The Thunderjet became the Air Force's primary strike aircraft during
Korean War, flying 86,408 missions and destroying 60% of all ground
targets in the war as well as eight Soviet-built
fighters. Over half of the 7,524 F-84s produced served with
nations, and it was the first aircraft to fly with the
U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds demonstration team. The
Strategic Air Command had F-84 Thunderjets in service from 1948
North American Aviation F-86 Sabre (sometimes called the
Sabrejet) was a
fighter aircraft. The Sabre is best known for its
Korean War role where it was pitted against the Soviet
MiG-15. Although developed in the late 1940s and outdated by the end
of the 1950s, the Sabre proved adaptable and continued as a front line
fighter in air forces until the last active front line examples were
retired by the
Bolivian Air Force in 1994.
Its success led to an extended production run of more than 7,800
aircraft between 1949 and 1956, in the United States, Japan and Italy.
It was by far the most-produced Western jet fighter, with total
production of all variants at 9,860 units.
The T-33 was the most widely used jet trainer in the world. A two-seat
version of the USAF's first jet fighter, the F-80 Shooting Star, the
T-33 continues to serve in various armed forces today.
The T-33 is a F-80 with a lengthened fuselage
to make room for the second tandem seat. It entered service during the
1950s, and the US Navy also acquired the type and had it modified for
blue-water operation as the TV-2. It was the
USAFs first jet trainer. It soon was dubbed the 'T-Bird' and was being
produced under license in both Japan and Canada. In Japan, Kawasaki
built 210 of these trainers. In Canada, the T-33 was designated the CL-30 Silver Star and the Allison turbojets of the
original were replaced with Canadian built Rolls-Royce Nene 10 engines.
The type still serves as a trainer for both countries. Limited numbers
were also produced for export, some being modified to carry light
armament. While only 1,718 P-80 Shooting Stars were built, nearly 7,000
T-33s saw active service around the world.
Lockheed F-94 Starfire
The Lockheed F-94 Starfire
was the first U.S. production jet to have an afterburner. It was one
of the first jet fighter aircraft equipped with radar and the first
operational all weather interceptor.
It was a derivative of the P-80 / T-33 Shooting Star. Its mission
was as an interceptor / fighter / bomber.
A Lockheed F-94 Starfire prototype first flew on April 16, 1949.
Production aircraft were deployed by December of 1949.
Initial missions were flown with the U.S. Air Defense Command, where
they were kept on 3-minute alert status, ready to intercept Soviet
The Lockheed F-94 Starfire saw action in the Korean War, primarily
as a night fighter. They are credited with the downing of four enemy
planes during the war. Their service continued with the U.S. Air
National Guard until 1959.
Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter
This is the actual Tennessee Air National Guard plane
that I also flew for 7 years.
In November 1965, Operation Christmas Star
transported over 90,000 tons of Christmas gifts
and military cargo for
servicemen to Vietnam .
All presents were donated by citizens
of Memphis and the Mid-South -
Below is an article about this mission.
The 164th Airlift Wing began life in 1946 as the 155th FS
F-51 Mustang piston engine fighters. By 1961 the unit was flying
C-97 cargo aircraft in vital support missions in conflicts all over
the world, a mission that the 164th continues today. In 1973, the 164th
completed its final flight of a
C-124 and switched to the more modern
C-130 turboprop cargo aircraft. All C-130As were retired in 1992,
and the 164th was given newer
C-141 aircraft. The 164th was one of the last units to operate the
venerable C-141, using it until it was finally retired in 2004 and
replaced with the massive
The 164th is based out of
Memphis International Airport in
History of The 164th Airlift Wing
United States Air Force's 164th Airlift Wing (164 AW) is an
airlift unit of the
Tennessee Air National Guard, operationally-gained by the
Air Mobility Command (AMC) and located at the Memphis Air
National Guard Base at
Memphis International Airport, Memphis,
Tennessee. The 164 AW is also the "host wing" for Memphis ANGB.
This unit was activated 23 December 1946 as the 155th Fighter
Squadron with the
F-51 Mustang as the assigned aircraft. On 1 April 1951, the unit was
redesignated as the 155th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron utilizing the
same aircraft. During this same period, the 155th was activated for the
Korean conflict. The 155th returned to state control as a night photo
unit on 1 January 1953, equipped with the RB-26
The unit was redesignated as a jet photo reconnaissance organization
on 1 April 1956 and equipped with the
RF-84 Thunderflash, the jets being received directly from the
factory for use in this mission.
April 1961 brought a major change for this unit. The 164th Military
Airlift Group was activated as parent unit and the 155th was
redesignated as a military airlift squadron. At this time, the unit
C-97 Stratofreighter, which was a converted
Strategic Air Command (SAC) aerial refueling tanker. Conversion to
this aircraft brought a worldwide mission with operations to such places
as Europe, Japan, South America, Australia and South Vietnam.