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13th squadron logo

The 13th Tigers
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The Air Force had just gone through a period of "Johnsonizing" (by Secretary of Defense Johnson) in which all the fat and most of the muscle had been taken out of the military. After all, there were no more wars to be fought - somewhat like today.

The country did not have the resources on hand to do the job that Truman required - hence massive recalls of Reservists. Nearly everyone has forgotten that recallees for the SAC B-29 Bomber program, sent to Randolph AFB in Texas for retraining, refused to fly. It was mutiny. Some were court-martialed. It was an unhappy time.

Dan Nigro Adam Golden Walter King
"Dan Nigro"
"Adam Golden"
"Walter King"

Tremendous pressure was put on everyone in those early days of the war. The two squadrons did the best they could. There was a crew imbalance and major shortage of navigators and bombardiers. In July of 1950 Navigator/bombardiers flew at three times the mission rates of pilots.

Planes flew without navigators and bombardiers. They put Flight Engineers in the right seat to serve as note taker/observer alternate navigator.

Lt. John Harris volunteered for the fight to get some training in the airplane. He went into combat without ever having dropped a bomb or firing the guns - except for a practice flight when the guns jammed. He got his combat training on a bar stool at the Officer Club. John Harris
"John Harris"

In the spring of 1952 I flew several missions with one of the retreads. Prior to his recall his qualification to fly the hot B-26 was 50 hours in the B-25 - an aircraft so tame the Air Force used it as its multi-engine trainer.

During a mission the gunner reported that a night fighter was making a firing pass on us. This was bad news. Major "Retread" began to take evasive action, which consisted of level standard rate turns to the left and right. Pilots will recognize that standard rate turns are not evasive action.

Well, it wasn't a night fighter. The gunner had caught the glint of starlight off the curvature of the Plexiglas around the top of his compartment, or someone else would be writing this.

Bryce Lampkin and Earl Ruhin
"Bryce Lampkin and Earl Ruhlin"
Charles Wolfe
"Charles Wolfe"
Lucien Thomas
"Lucien Thomas"

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