Stinson Vigilant

Webp.net-resizeimage

The Stinson L-1 Vigilant seen here has had a long and interesting life. Delivered to the Air Corps in 1941, 40-3012 served all over the United States before being purchased at the war’s end by legendary Hollywood pilot, Paul Mantz. After decades of work as a camera plane, this airworthy craft now resides in the Fantasy of Flight museum in Florida. This photo shows the plane shortly after its sale to Mantz. The aircraft had last been assigned to the Air Transport Command (ATC) division in Alaska (that is the difficult to see totem pole insignia below the cockpit).


Webp.net-resizeimage (1)

This L-1 was a rare bird. Built as 41-18912 for the Army Air Force, it was equipped with floats and redesignated the L-1F. Only a handful were so converted.


26th Bomb Squadron, 1942

Webp.net-resizeimage (4)

Pekoa Airfield, New Hebrides Islands, in the autumn of 1942. A duo of B-17Es of the 26th Bomb Squadron, 11th Bomb Group, await another mission. Note the wing and nose antenna of the SCR-521 radar.


Webp.net-resizeimage (6)

Ground crew reinstall a critical airframe component – the rear half of the aircraft. One can still see on the national insignia that its red center was painted over.


Webp.net-resizeimage (1)

The 26th Bomb Squadron scoreboard and Roll of Honor.


Webp.net-resizeimage (5)

This came with the photos: a hand-drawn version of the same scoreboard. The stars denote action at Hickam Field (the 26th was there December 7), Midway, and the Solomon Islands.


Mixed bag of B-29 Superforts

Remembering Pearl Harbor

a4a01510-0d98-0135-23f6-0050569601ca-3Webp.net-resizeimage (2)img049_stitch - Copy

It is late November, 1941, and the men of Hickam Field’s 50th Reconnaissance Squadron pose for a photo to send home for Christmas.

These men could not possibly imagine that even as they smiled at the camera, plans were already underway for their demise. Nor could they imagine that some of them have less than two weeks to live. For those who do survive, it will be an event that will mark them for the rest of their lives.

One man who lived through the attack was PFC William P. Stroud Jr. (4th row, 4th from right in the group photo). A flight engineer in the 50th Recon Sq., Stroud was in the barracks when the attack began. (That barracks, just across the street from the flightline and hangars, bears to this day the scars of the attack.) Despite the madness of that morning, William Stroud kept his cool. Knowing where he was needed most, he raced across the street to the flaming flightline to lend assistance. The squadron’s aircraft were already destroyed, so he grabbed a rifle to get in the fight. And a fighter he was. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Stroud won his pilot’s wings, flew B-24s, and in his numerous combat missions earned the Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross. 

Stroud, soon to be tested in battle, was identified in the group photo by his granddaughter, and it is a pleasure to single out and salute such a courageous young man.


It is well that we remember both those who lived and those who lost their lives that fateful morning. As the original owner of this photograph indicates with his annotations, some would not survive December 7th, but they were never forgotten by those who did. 

~”They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: 

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.” ~

Oddball Aircraft