[Article] Why the U.S. Air Force did not use the F-47 Thunderbolt in the Korean War

Gia’, perche’ il possente e robusto Thunderbolt della Republic non prese parte alla Guerra di Corea nel ruolo di caccia da appoggio tattico? E perche’ l’USAF preferi’ il Mustang? Leggete il seguente articolo e lo scoprirete :-)

Why the U.S. Air Force did not use the F-47 Thunderbolt in the Korean War
By Michael D. Rowland
Air Power History, Fall 2003 Issue

During World War II, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt gained an enviable reputation for accomplishment and toughness. With a skilled pilot at its controls, it was a formidable fighter–the two highest-scoring American aces in the European Theater, Francis “Gabby” Gabreski, with 28 victories, and Robert S. Johnson, with 27 victories, flew Thunderbolts. However, the Thunderbolt gained its greatest fame and biggest numerical successes as a ground-attack aircraft. In Europe alone between D-Day on June 6, 1944 and the surrender of Germany on May 8, 1945, Thunderbolt groups claimed the destruction of 6,000 tanks and armored fighting vehicles, 9,000 locomotives, 86,000 items of rolling stock, 68,000 trucks, and huge numbers of enemy troops killed or wounded. According to air power historian W. A. Jacobs, “All authorities agreed that the P-47 was the best fighter-bomber.” (1)

The P-47 equipped Air Force squadrons for a number of years after World War II and in 1948 was redesignated the F-47. (2) The F-47 was also used by Air National Guard squadrons and did not completely pass out of service until the mid-1950s. Nevertheless, after North Korean forces attacked the Republic of Korea on Sunday, June 25, 1950, the United States Air Force turned to the North American F-51 Mustang to fly close-support missions against the communist forces instead of the F-47. In fact, the Thunderbolt did not see combat during the Korean War even though it was a more effective and survivable close air support aircraft than the F-51. Why didn’t the Air Force use the F-47 in Korea? There are several reasons, including budget limitations and shortages of spare parts, a nearly complete focus by the Air Force on strategic nuclear bombing in the post-World War II years, and the transition to jet-powered aircraft.

The Mustang was one of the best fighter planes of World War II because of its range, speed, and maneuverability. Rendered obsolete by the latest jet-powered fighters, the F-51 gained a new life during the Korean War as one of the Air Force’s principal ground attack aircraft. The Mustang had better range and payload than the jet-powered Lockheed F-80C Shooting Star and could be operated from rough airstrips close to the front. As a result, a small number of Mustangs were retrieved from storage in Japan and more F-51s were shipped from Air National Guard units in the U.S. By August 11, 1950, six fighter units had transitioned from F-80s to F-51s. Many pilots were not excited about the change. The historian of the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group, the last of the six units to complete the conversion, wrote that “A lot of pilots had seen vivid demonstrations of why the F-51 was not a ground-support fighter in the last war, and weren’t exactly intrigued by the thought of playing guinea pig to prove the same thing over again.” (3)

The F-51’s liquid-cooled engine, coolant lines, and radiator were extremely vulnerable to enemy fire. Edgar Schmued, chief designer of the F-51, explained that using the Mustang for ground attack was “absolutely hopeless, because a .30-caliber bullet can rip a hole in the radiator and you fly two more minutes before your engine freezes up.” (4) Not surprisingly, more Eighth Air Force Mustangs were lost during strafing attacks than in air combat in World War II. (5) The Mustang suffered the highest combat losses of any Air Force warplane during the Korean War, with 172 F-51s shot down by enemy ground fire. A total of 164 Mustang pilots were either killed or declared missing during ground-attack operations. For World War II Thunderbolt pilots who flew the F-51 in Korea, the F-47 was definitely the better plane for ground attack. The F-51 was derisively nicknamed “Spam Can” and left many pilots in Korea wishing they were flying the Thunderbolt instead. Colonel Bill Myers, who flew Thunderbolts in World War II, admits that every time he took off on a mission in Korea in his Mustang, he would pray, “Please, God, make this a Thunderbolt.” (6)

The F-47 was dramatically different from the sleek and graceful Mustang in many ways. Originally conceived as a lightweight interceptor, the Thunderbolt ended up being the heaviest single-engine fighter of World War II. It was designed and built around its engine and the turbo supercharger that provided high-altitude performance. The engine was the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, an 18-cylinder, air-cooled radial that produced over 2,000 horsepower. (7) The plane had a stubby appearance and some say the Thunderbolt’s nickname of “Jug” came from its resemblance to a milk jug. Others claim it was derived from “juggernaut.”

The Jug entered combat in April 1943 escorting bombers over Europe, and it quickly demonstrated the ability to take on the lighter and more maneuverable Luftwaffe fighters. The Thunderbolt also established itself as a tough and effective ground attack aircraft. From 1944 on, the Thunderbolt was the primary Army Air Forces fighter-bomber, particularly in Italy and northwestern Europe. By 1945, more than 40 percent of all Army Air Forces fighter groups serving overseas were equipped with the big fighter. The Thunderbolt, praised by some as the most versatile plane of the war, escorted bombers, fought enemy fighters, performed ground-attack missions, and even dropped rafts to ditched aircrews. (8) Britain, the Soviet Union, Brazil, and a number of other allies also used the Jug during the war. After World War II, the air forces of nearly twenty nations flew Thunderbolts.

The F-47 held many advantages over the F-51 in the ground attack role. For starters, it was capable of delivering much greater destruction. The Thunderbolt carried eight wing-mounted .50 caliber Browning machine guns and enjoyed 33 percent more firepower than the Mustang and many other Army Air Forces and Navy fighters of World War II, that were typically armed with six .50 caliber guns. A full load of ammunition for an F-47 consisted of 425 rounds per gun, enough for 30 seconds of continuous fire. In contrast, the six-gun F-51D carried 400 rounds for each of its outboard guns and 270 rounds for each of the other four guns; the 270 rounds lasted about 20 seconds. The Thunderbolt’s long nose limited visibility during low-level attacks but the Jug was still a fearsome strafer. American fighter-bomber groups often carried out strafing runs with flights of four Jugs in a line-abreast formation, and the thirty-two guns firing together was usually devastating. (9) For instance, Jugs of the 78th Fighter Group set an Eighth Air Force record by destroying 135 German aircraft on the ground on April 16, 1945. (10) Thunderbolts had one bomb rack fitted under each wing and another under the fuselage, as well as short launch stubs under the wings for unguided rockets, allowing late-model Thunderbolts to carry up to 2,500 pounds of external stores. A typical full load for an F-47N might consist of three 500-pound bombs, 10 3-inch rockets, and full ammunition for all of its guns.

The F-47 was also known for its toughness and capacity to absorb damage. The Jug’s combat loss rate per sortie was only 0.7 percent, considerably better than the Mustang’s 1.2 percent. One World War II study indicated the F-51 was three times more vulnerable to ground fire than the F-47. (11) Thunderbolts brought their pilots back home after taking numerous hits in the fuselage and wings, having cylinders shot off their engines, and even after flying through the blasts of their own bombs and rockets and the debris of exploding targets. (12) One admirer called the F-47 “an airborne fox hole.” (13) Considering the danger of their missions, Thunderbolt pilots felt relatively safe in their heavily built fighters and often said they would not have survived their more harrowing missions if they had been in any other airplane. Robert S. Johnson, the fourth highest scoring Army Air Forces ace during World War II, related a particularly dramatic example of the Thunderbolt’s ruggedness:

When I was badly shot up [in a dogfight] on June 26, 1943, I had 21 20mm cannon shells in that airplane, and more than 200 7.92-mm machine-gun bullets. One nicked my nose and another entered my right leg, where the bullet split in half. I still have those two little pieces, by the way; they went in just under the skin. I had been hurt worse playing football and boxing.” (14)

The Jug was durable but not invulnerable, and many were shot down during ground-attack missions. But even in those circumstances, a Thunderbolt pilot had a good chance of survival. The pilot of a mortally wounded fighter-bomber often had to try a crash landing, since the low altitudes of ground-attack work frequently eliminated the option of bailing out. This was especially true of the Mustang; Col. Jesse Thompson, who flew D-model Mustangs with the Eighth Air Force’s 55th Fighter Group, explained that:

Once the canopy was jettisoned the air circulation around the cockpit was such that it tended to trap the pilot behind the armor plate against the radio. How this came about I have never fully understood, but it did happen. I’m sure level flight bale-outs were accomplished, although I never knew of one, but so far as I was concerned the only certain method was from inverted flight. (15)

The Mustang’s air scoop located under the wing was a distinct liability during belly landings, since it could dig into the earth or catch on obstacles. The F-47 had internal crash skids installed in the bottom of the fuselage to help maintain structural integrity during wheels-up landings. This feature, along with the Jug’s heavy construction and the cushioning effect provided by the supercharger piping running through the lower fuselage, helped save the lives of pilots during crash landings. With surprising regularity, shaken, but uninjured Thunderbolt pilots climbed out of their smashed planes after bellying in through forests, ditches, buildings, and even stone walls. (16) Jacobs declares, “If the P-47’s designers had set out to build a high-performance aircraft for close support, they could hardly have done better within the existing technology.” (17)

The F-47 was kept out of the Korean War for a variety of reasons, but the two most significant were the extreme budget limitations of the post-war years and the focus on strategic nuclear bombing. After World War II, the Air Force created Strategic Air Command, Air Defense Command, and Tactical Air Command as part of a postwar reorganization. Air Force leadership announced a goal of 70 groups, with significant funds to be dedicated to research and development and acquiring new aircraft. The creation of Tactical Air Command indicated that close air support would continue to be an important component of the Air Force mission. Unfortunately, their plans were far too optimistic, with dramatic funding and manpower cuts in the postwar years threatening the Air Force’s ability to meet its mission requirements. At the same time, the United States’ defense strategy focused on strategic nuclear bombing, and so the Air Force concentrated its budget on Strategic Air Command.

Many air power strategists argued that all forces had to be evaluated on their ability to contribute to a general, nuclear war. (18) For instance, Col. William Momyer proposed, in 1948, that the only missions for fighter aircraft during a nuclear war were air defense and bomber escort. He argued that if a nuclear offensive failed it would take up to two years before tactical air power would be required to support a conventional war. Momyer’s influential report and the tight budget led to a further downgrade in the tactical forces. (19) Close support training was neglected and the “A” classification for Attack aircraft was dropped in 1948. “As a result” notes historian I. B. Holley, “hard-won lessons were lost and had to be acquired all over again, as the experience in Korea revealed so pointedly.” (20)

With the Air Force’s post-war fighter aircraft functioning almost exclusively as bomber escorts and air defenders, the Mustang was the fighter of choice during the transition to an all-jet force. During World War II, the Mustang was the premier long-range bomber escort. The Thunderbolt was limited in the long-range escort role by its notorious thirst for fuel, although Republic engineers did develop the F-47N, a long-range version of the Thunderbolt designed to escort B-29s in the Pacific. The N-model could fly 800 miles on internal fuel and as much as 2000 miles with external tanks, but it achieved this with a high fuel bill. The F-47N was similar to earlier models of the Jug in fuel consumption, burning 100 gallons an hour when cruising and as much as 300 gallons per hour at full power. The Mustang burned 120 gallons per hour at full power and as little as 64 gallons per hour at lower settings. (21)

As for the air defense role, Thunderbolt chronicler Warren Bodie acknowledges that the Jug “never was a good interceptor.” (22) The F-47 could not boast a great rate of climb, though with wide paddle blades and engine power boosted with water injection, late-model F-47Ds could reach 20,000 feet in nine minutes. The F-47N took 14.2 minutes to reach 25,000 feet, while the F-51D climbed to 30,000 feet in 13 minutes. The F-47D had a top speed of 428 miles per hour at 30,000 feet compared to the F-51D’s 437 miles per hour at 25,000 feet. The F-47N was able to achieve an impressive 467 miles per hour, but the F-51H was faster still, with a top speed of 487 miles per hour. Thunderbolt pilots in World War II were able to defeat their opponents through teamwork and careful exploitation of the Jug’s strengths–especially its diving speed, zoom climbing ability, and heavy firepower. Maneuverability was less critical against lumbering bombers but the F-47 could not match the F-51’s all-around ability in air-to-air engagements against enemy fighters. An exceptional Thunderbolt pilot like Robert S. Johnson might claim he could beat a Mustang “anytime I wanted to, and I did, many times,” (23) but Jug pilots often lost to the more agile Mustangs in mock dogfights.

Years of lean budgets and the neglect of tactical air power meant that by 1950 there were simply not enough Thunderbolts and associated spare parts left to support long-term combat operations. During World War II, 15,683 Thunderbolts were produced–more than any other American fighter. Of this total, an estimated one third were destroyed in combat, a third were scrapped after the war, and the remaining third went into storage, served with the Air National Guard, or were sold to foreign governments. Late-model F-47Ds and F-47Ns remained in service with a few active-duty Air Force units until the late 1940s, and the Air National Guard did not retire its last Thunderbolts until 1955. When the Korean War began, there were 1,167 F-47s on hand, but most of these were in storage–only 265 Thunderbolts were active in ANG units and they were all considered second-line aircraft. (24) Additionally, the rapid demobilization after World War II affected the supply system and the availability of spares for the Thunderbolts throughout the post-war years. For instance, the 23rd Fighter Group stationed on Guam in 1947 had pilots who had not accumulated the required night time flying hours because their Jugs lacked functioning flight instruments. The group’s historian noted “the installation of these instruments is contemplated in the near future, depending of course, upon Tech Supply.” (25) Historian Kenneth P. Werrell was told the F-47 was not used in Korea primarily because of the lack of spare parts. (26)

A few suspicious pilots in Korea argued that the Air Force went with the F-51 instead of the F-47 simply to save money, since the F-47 was expensive to build compared to its lighter stable mate. (27) In 1945 dollars, the cost of a single Thunderbolt was $83,000 compared to about $51,000 for an F-51. However, production of both aircraft ended in 1945, and the fact that more Thunderbolts were built during World War II than any other American fighter before or since is an acknowledgment of the Jug’s capabilities. Certainly, it would have cost less to operate an F-47 in Korea than to lose an F-51 and its invaluable pilot to ground fire.

In April 1951, Communist ground fire claimed 40 Air Force fighter-bombers, including 25 Mustangs. As a result, Lt. Gen. George E. Stratemeyer, commander of the U.S. Far East Air Forces, sent a request to Air Force headquarters asking if any F-47s were available for use in Korea. He noted a tremendous increase in small arms fire and flak, but added that “All here know that [the] F-47 can take it.” (28) Stratemeyer explained that the situation was so desperate he would gratefully accept just 25 F-47s then serving with the Hawaii Air National Guard. In response to Stratemeyer’s request, Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Air Force chief of staff, explained that considering the current availability of F-47s, the lack of spare parts, and the problems of introducing another type of fighter aircraft, “we fail to see any appreciable results to be gained by the substitution.” (29) Vandenberg admitted the F-47 would likely confirm its reputation from World War II and prove less vulnerable than the F51, but he believed that “the disparity between the F-47 and your jet types would be almost as great as the disparity between the F-51s and jets.” (30) He concluded that the problem could really only be solved by replacing the Mustangs with jets, adding that exchanging the F-51s for F-47s would require a complete change in the familiarization training pilots received prior to flying combat missions in Korea. (31) Unfortunately for the pilots who continued flying missions in the F-51, the jets came slowly–the last Mustangs were not withdrawn from combat until January 22, 1953.

The U.S. Navy’s operations in Korea offer an interesting perspective into the F-51’s experience, since the Navy and Marines relied heavily on two F-47-1ike airplanes to provide carrier-based ground attack throughout the war: the Chance Vought F4U Corsair and the Douglas AD Skyraider. The Corsair had earned a reputation as an outstanding ground attacker during World War II. The versatile Skyraider arrived too late to see combat in World War II, but provided yeoman service in Korea. The Navy also used jet fighter-bombers, but carrier-based Grumman F9F Panthers did not hit targets in Korea with bombs until April 1, 1951. Another Navy jet, the McDonnell F2H Banshee, did not even appear in Korea until August 1951 when the U.S.S. Essex (CVA-9) arrived with its powerful new steam catapults. As a result, Corsairs alone flew 82 percent of the Navy and Marines’ close support missions during the first 10 months of the Korean War.

The F4U and AD experienced heavy losses in Korea–almost all of the 312 Corsairs and 124 Skyraiders lost to enemy action fed to ground fire. The Corsair, in spite of its rugged construction and radial engine, had a number of weaknesses, including vulnerable, wing-mounted oil coolers. To correct these deficiencies, Vought produced 110 examples of the AU-1, a dedicated ground-attack version of the Corsair. The AU-1 had 25 pieces of armor plating installed and the oil coolers were relocated; 17 of the 25 pieces of added armor protected the underside of the AU-1’s engine and accessory, section. (32) Additional armor was also installed in the Skyraider. The F-51 Mustang, on the other hand–a plane without the inherent survivability of the F4U or AD–never received additional armor plating to increase its protection in the ground attack role.

Yet the Mustang, in spite of its weaknesses as a fighter-bomber, still made a fantastic contribution to the Air Force’s effort in Korea. F-51s flew 62,607 missions and almost all of these were for close support of ground forces or for tactical reconnaissance. They fired 183,221 rockets and dropped 12,909 tons of bombs and 15,221 tons of napalm. Additionally, Mustangs shot down 19 enemy propeller-driven aircraft and destroyed another 28 on the ground. The Mustang filled a crucial gap in Air Force ground attack capabilities in the days before the installation of mid-wing bomb racks on the F-80C and the arrival of the F-84 Thunderjet. Particularly in mid-July 1950, Mustangs operating close to the front from the rough airfields at Taegu and Pohang proved invaluable in helping to blunt the North Korean advance. Brigadier General E. J. Timberlake, Deputy Commander of Fifth Air Force, which was responsible for tactical operations in Korea, stated, “One F-51 adequately supported and fought from Taegu Airfield is equivalent to four F-80s based [in Japan].” (33) Lt. Gen. Walton H. Walker, Commander of the Eighth Army, summed up the Army’s sentiments. During an interview on November 25, 1950, Walker said “I will lay my cards right on the table and state that if it had not been for the air support we received from the Fifth Air Force we would not have been able to stay in Korea.” (34) While many F-51s and their pilots were lost in Korea, these losses were actually light considering the tremendous destruction they inflicted on the Communist forces. (35) In a particularly effective close air support strike on October 25, 1951, Mustangs killed or wounded about 200 enemy troop (36)–more than the total number of F-51 pilots killed in ground-attack operations during the entire Korean War.

The Thunderbolt would have been a more survivable ground-attack aircraft than the F-51 in Korea, and pilot losses would have been lower in the Jug. However, the plane did have limitations. The Jug needed a lot of runway to get into the air, which meant the F-47 simply could not have operated from some of Korea’s short, rough runways without reducing weapon or fuel loads. One of the Mustang’s greatest assets in Korea was that it could fly with a heavy weapons load from undersized dirt runways just a short flight from the front. Fully loaded, the F-47D and F-47N weighed in at 19,400 and 20,700 pounds respectively; the relatively lightweight F-51D topped the scales at 11,600 pounds. Perhaps most significantly, the Thunderbolt, like all other piston-engine fighters, was outclassed by the straight-wing jet fighters of the late 1940s. The situation became even worse as swept-wing jets entered service. Futrell notes the performance of the Soviet-built MiG-15 jets that appeared over Korea on November 1, 1951 “rendered obsolete every American plane in the Far East.” (37) In air combat with the MiG-15, the Mustang had to depend on its maneuverability to survive, since trying to speed or dive away was usually fatal. (38) Vandenberg, in his response to Stratemeyer’s request for F-47s, said the Thunderbolt would be much less desirable for aerial combat than the Mustang in the event of a MiG attack. (39) The Jug could have made an important contribution to the Air Force effort in Korea, but like the Mustang, it would have been replaced eventually by more survivable jet fighter-bombers.

Although it did not participate in the Korean War, the Thunderbolt was well represented by its jet-powered successor, the F-84. The Thunderjet arrived in Korea in December 1950, and quickly became the Air Force’s primary fighter-bomber. Shortly after the Thunderjet entered service in Korea, the 27th Wing commander, Col. Ashley B. Packard, asserted that the F-84 was the “best ground-support jet in the theater today.” (40) The F-84 was tough and effective Vice Air Marshal Ron Dick describes it as “a fearsome fighter-bomber and the champion hauler of bombs and napalm in the Korean War” (41) and Stratemeyer praised it as being “just about as rugged as the F-47 as a ground support airplane.” (42)

NOTES

(1.) W. A. Jacobs, “The Battle for France, 1944,” in B. Franklin Cooling, Case Studies in the Development of Close Air Support (Washington, D.C.: Office of the Air Force Historian, 1990), p. 250.

(2.) On June 11, 1948, the USAF implemented a new duty prefix letter for its fighter aircraft, changing from “P” for Pursuit to “F” for fighter. As a result, the P-47 became the F-47. For the sake of continuity, I generally use F-47 throughout this essay.

(3.) Robert F. Futrell, The United States Air Force in Korea (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 1991), p. 112.

(4.) Ray Wagner, Mustang Designer: Edgar Schmued and the P-51 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990), p. 184.

(5.) Roger A. Freeman, Mustang at War (Garden City: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1974), 82-83.

(6.) Jennie Ethell Chancey and William R. Forstcher, eds. Hot Shots: An Oral History of the Air Force Combat Pilots of the Korean War (New York: Harper Collins, 2000), pp. 57, 115-116.

(7.) The R-2800 also powered other prominent World War II combat aircraft, including the Douglas A-26 Invader, Grumman F6F Hellcat, Martin B-26 Marauder, Northrop P-61 Black Widow, Curtiss C-46 Commando, and Chance Vought F4U Corsair.

(8.) Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., Men and Planes, vol 6 of The Army Air Forces in World War II (Washington, D,C.: Office of Air Force History, 1983), p. 216.

(9.) Jerry Scutts, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt: The Operational Record (Osceola, Wisc.: MBI Pub Co., 1998), p. 70; Frederick A. Johnsen, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt (North Branch, Minn.: Specialty Press, 1999), p. 82.

(10.) Warren M. Bodie, “Thunderbolt,” Wings Special Edition Number 1 (Granada Hills: Sentry Books, Inc.), p. 41.

(11.) Kenneth P. Werrell, Archie, Flak, AAA, and SAM: A Short Operational History of Ground-Based Air Defense (Maxwell AFB, Ala.: Air University Press, 1988), pp. 75-76.

(12.) William N. Hess, P-47 Thunderbolt at War (Garden City. N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1976), p. 63.

(13.) Frederick A. Johnsen, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, p. 36.

(14.) Colin D. Heaton, “Wolfpack Ace Robert S. Johnson,” Military History, vol 13, number 3, Aug 1996.

(15.) Norman Franks Aircraft Versus Aircraft (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1986), p. 139.

(16.) Jeffrey L. Ethell, Wings of War: Fighting World War II in the Air (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1994), p. 79.

(17.) Jacobs, “Battle for France,” p. 250.

(18.) William W. Momyer, Air Power in Three Wars (Washington, D.C.: Office of Air Force History, 1985), p. 1.

(19.) Philip S. Meilinger, Hoyt S. Vandenberg: The Life of a General (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museums Program, 2000), p. 167.

(20.) I.B. Holley, Jr., “A Retrospect on Close Air Support,” in Cooling, Development of Close Air Support, p. 542.

(21.) Scutts, Operational Record, pp. 38, 130; Robert W. Gruenhagen, Mustang: The Story of the P-51 Fighter (New York: Arco Publishing Company, Inc., 1976), p. 102.

(22.) Warren M. Bodie, Republic’s P-47 Thunderbolt: From Seversky to Victory (Hiawassee: Widewing Publications, 1994), p. 350.

(23.) Jon Guttman, “What Was the Best Fighter?” Military History, vol 13, number 3, Aug 1996.

(24.) William T. Y’Blood, ed., The Three Wars of Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer: His Korean War Diary (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museum Program, 1999), p. 119. For comparison, there were 764 Mustangs in use by the Air National Guard and another 794 in storage in June 1950 (Futrell, p. 69). Wagner asserts that 897 F-51 and 38 RF-51s were in the Air Force inventory at that time (Wagner, Mustang Designer, p. 181.)

(25.) Johnsen, Republic P-47 Thunderbolt, p. 87.

(26.) Werrel, Archie, p. 76.

(27.) Chancey, Hot Shots, p. 115.

(28.) George E. Stratemeyer to Nathaniel F. Twining, May 4, 1951, Y’Blood, Three Wars, pp. 501-502.

(29.) Hoyt S. Vandenberg to George E. Stratemeyer, May 10, 1951, Y’Blood, Three Wars, pp. 509-10.

(30.) Ibid, p. 510.

(31.) Ibid.

(32.) Jay Frank Dial “The Chance Vought F4U-4 to F4U-7 Corsair” in Aircraft in Profile 7 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1970), pp. 70, 75.

(33.) Futrell, Air Force in Korea, pp. 94-95.

(34.) Wayne Thompson, “The Air War in Korea,” in Winged Shield, Winged Sword: A History of the United States Air Force, vol 2 (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museum Program, 1997), p.20.

(35.) Futrell, Air Force in Korea, p. 692

(36.) A. Timothy Warnock, ed., The USAF in Korea: A Chronology, 1950-1953 (Washington, D.C.: Air Force History and Museum Program, 2000), p. 53.

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(37.) Futrell, Air Force in Korea, p. 244.

(38.) Wagner, Mustang Designer, p. 184.

(39.) Vandenberg to Stratemeyer, May 10, 1951, Y’Blood, Three Wars, p. 510.

(40.) Futrell, Air Force in Korea, p. 388.

(41.) Ron Dick, American Eagles (Charlottesville, Va.: Howell Press, 1997), p. 270.

(42.) Y’Blood, Three Wars, p. 119.

Michael D. Rowland graduated from, Brigham Young University in 1996, with a BA in humanities and Was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force through the Air Force ROTC program. He served for six years as an Aircraft and Munitions Maintenance Officer, with assignments at Kirtland and Sheppard Air Force Bases. He separated from the Air Force in May 2002 and is currently a full-time graduate student in the Museum Studies Program at the University of Florida, Gainesville.

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