With its tail number of 47-084, this B-45A was a natural choice for assignment to Langley AFB’s 47th Bomb Group, 84th Bomb Squadron. The unit later moved to RAF Sculthorpe in the UK.
The B-45 was, of course, America’s first jet bomber, and like many of those early jets it had a checkered career (of the 143 B-45s built, almost one-third of them were destroyed in crashes and other mishaps). There are very few survivors, and 47-084 is not one of them: it ended its days in 1958 at Ramstein Air Base as an instructional airframe for training firemen. In other words, a charred and smashed wreck.
Insignia of the 84th
It’s always fun to browse thrift stores for bargains; never know what you might find. The patches seen here illustrate that point: They were glued to a cheap imitation leather flight jacket that was priced $4.99. Alas, there was no name on the jacket – it no doubt belonged to a veteran who wore it to reunions and such. He would have flown the B-24’s of the 460th from their bases in Italy (the patches are Italian made). But the patches live on, and those mementos of a veteran’s service have been saved for all time.
Five feet is the length of this photo, and given that I had to scan it in segments then stitch it all together, I would not have minded had the 18th FIS done its job with fewer men. That being said, it is a great shot of the entire squadron at Ladd AFB, Alaska, on July 18 1955, Major John “Buck” Rogers commanding. The following summer they moved to the somewhat less frigid Wurtsmith AFB in Michigan. F-89D Scorpions were the weapons of choice for the 18th in Alaska. One can be identified: 52-1839.
The “D” model of the famed F-86 Sabre was, of course, labeled the “Dog” model. However, this was not just for the phonetically proper D-for-Dog but for what that model’s radome did to alter the aircraft’s appearance. Compared to the previous Sabre models whose front end was an intake (comparisons were made between it and a fish with its mouth open), the addition of the black radome did indeed give the D model the look of some sort of canine.
The 15th Fighter Interceptor Squadron flew the F-86D from 1954-1957. The latter date coincides with that of this photo. Well, photo yes, but it is actually a postcard used by “Tex and Paky”.
PS. Get it?: Hot “Dog”…D Model…”Sunny Tucson”…(?) Yeah…
An F-86 pilot, Barrett was commander of the 49th Fighter Bomber Group at Misawa Air Base, Japan, in 1957. His next stop was commander of the 329th Fighter Group (Air Defense) at Stewart AFB, NY, 1958-59.
As part of the 21st Fighter Bomber Wing, the Base Flight mainly consisted of T-33’s and other utility aircraft in support of the Wing’s operations. Patch dates from the mid-1950’s.
During the Vietnam War, crazy flightsuit-like garments were made by local tailors for wearing at the club. These “party suits” were usually in squadron colors, festooned with patches, and completely outlandish. Well, that was for the men, but what about the nurses? It seems they had their own after hours attire as seen here: A mini-skirt with emphasis on “mini.” The patch is the 11th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron from Udorn Air Base, Thailand. Nurse Miller would not have been assigned to the 11th (their’s was man’s work), but this dress would have been made with their blessing. Year: about 1969.
From Clark Air Base in the 1950s Philippines, comes one of the more odd-looking patches in my collection. A Viking perhaps? Some forgotten cartoon character? Whatever the case, the squadron went out of the interceptor business in 1959 so it’s likely the inspiration for this patch will remain a mystery. BTW: They were fixing cameras on F-86’s.
The patch on the left was worn by Lt Col J.D. Collinsworth when he commanded the 66th FIS from 1951-55. Collinsworth was a WWII ace who had six kills while flying Spitfires with the 307th Fighter Squadron. Flown by the 66th from 1951-53, the aircraft is, of course, the F-94 Starfire.
Once upon a time, there was a bomber call the B-57. One of the less-sung heroes in USAF history, it was nevertheless highly versatile. B-57’s of the 90th Bomb Sq. pulled nuclear alert in Korea back in the late 50’s to early 60’s. These are their patches.
Wearing this rather spiffy-looking patch, the 1st FDS flew the F-86 and the F-100 at George AFB from 1954-58.
Adair Air Force Station – like many of its type – was in the middle of nowhere. This explains the cow motif of the patch. “POADS” = Portland Air Defense Sector.
The 492nd flew the B-24 Liberator from various bases in British India.
From 1955 to 1961, the boys of the NC Air Guard hot-rodded through the skies of the Tarheel state in several versions of the F-86 Sabre.
Based at Geiger Field, WA, in the mid-1950’s, the 9th Air Division controlled the fighter interceptor squadrons of Larson AFB, WA that guarded the skies of Eastern Washington & Oregon, and all of Idaho. They were also in charge of the various radar squadrons in the region.
Of note on this big patch is the Ground Observer Corps watchtower superimposed over the radome. Even in the mid-1950’s, the radar coverage of North America had gaps that still required eyes, and not electronics.
From my closet. L-1B flightsuit with 85th FIS patch. The same type baseball cap is worn by the pilots in photo #1.
Based at Van Nuys California, the 195th flew various models of the F-86 Sabre from 1953-61. Sometimes you’ll see this patch with the pilot’s name on a bottom tab, sometimes you won’t. Either way, it’s not a common patch.
Story goes that in the late 50’s the new sport of scuba diving was so popular in the 146th that they formed a club and took to calling themselves the “Flying Frogmen.”
The 64th was tasked with air defense and the control a host of fighter interceptor squadrons before it was deactivated in 1963. This patch dates from earlier days, probably early-mid 1950’s.