Category Archives: AVIATION NEWS

Aviation News of Interest


         Darrel Nash, PA Officer for the

On Saturday, several weeks ago, Columbus was honored by the return of some of the famous Buffalo Soldiers, whose predecessors fought against the Villa forces during the Punitive Expedition in 1916 and 1917 out of this once much larger town in SW New Mexico.

The honored guest speaker for the event was Darrel Nash (Left), an Army Veteran, and the Public Affairs Officer for the Tacoma, Washington, Buffalo Soldiers Museum. Master Sergeant (MSgt) Nash was invited to speak by the local Columbus Historical Society (CHS), our sister non-profit.

The organizer of all the event’s details and the event itself was our own FASF GTr and long-time member, also an officer of the CHS, Dr. Kathleen Martin.

The Buffalo Soldiers fiercely fought during the Punitive Expedition. Of course, they only existed at that time as a segregated group because of the discriminatory practices that were part of the old Military establishment right up to shortly after the conclusion of WWII, in 1948.

Accordingly, on July 26, 1948, neither the famous Flying Red Tails (Tuskegee Airmen) nor Buffalo Soldiers had a reason to continue, since they were all now equal in every way to any members of the military establishment who were not of color.  However, their proud history was well worth keeping in the public’s eye, so numerous historically oriented non-profits sprung up around the country to help keep their exceptional history alive. One of these was the Buffalo Soldiers Museum and historical non-profit founded in Tacoma, WA.

Below, are some photos of the event, and a video of Sergeant Nash’s presentation.

                                      Sergeant Nash prepares for his PowerPoint Show.

                                                                  Sgt. Nash tests the audio system . . .

Arriving at the Pancho Villa State Park (PVSP), are members of various Buffalo Soldier Motor Cycle Clubs from Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.

Dr. Kathleen Martin (Centr above), the event organizer, arrives at the PVSP Exhibition Hall to help set things up . . .

Retired Army Veteran and FASF Airfield Manager, Bob Wright with a welcoming hug to an El Paso Texas Buffalo Soldier Motorcycle Club member . . .

Centter stage, Sgt. Nash greets his fellow Buffalo Soldiers to the park . . .

Buffalo Soldier Motorcycle Club Members and their family members proudly gather around Sgt. Nash . . .

The gathering crowd of attendees and professional photographers take photos of the Buffalo Soldier Club Members

Professional Photo Journalist, Raechel Running, came from Bisbee, AZ to cover the event . . .

Once again the Club Members gather for photographs, this time for “Rae” Running of Bisbee AZ

               Sgt. Nash speaking with Rae Running, old friends from previous Columbus historical events

At the far-right is a long-time member of the CHS, Marylin Steffen, of Columbus. Sgt. Nash explains his display  . . .

Another long-time member of the CHS and former Columbus Councilman, a USMC veteran, Allen Rosenberg (R), in a vintage Army uniform. Dr. Martin is in the center background..

                                           Allen Rosenberg discusses the event with a friend . . .

                                                    Sgt Nash enthusiastically begins his program . . .

He’s off and running . . .

The audience spilled out into the exhibit hall corridor . . .

                         Sgt. Nash presents one of his well-chosen slides about the Buffalo Soldiers’ history . . .

The audience continued to grow and here applauds Sgt. Nash as he concluded his presentation . . .

“Da Boss” an active member of the El Paso, Texas Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club introduces the next Speaker

Historian, Carlos “Lobo” Bazan, President of the Camp Naco Post Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club of Tucson, AZ

The front row takes in “Lobo’s” historical talk . . .

                                      “Lobo” continues the lecture with an excellent slide show to illustrate his theme . . .

The Audience continued to grow as the presentations were made . . .

More of the audience . . .

James “Shaft” Foreman, President of the Sierra Vista, Arizona Buffalo Soldiers’ Motorcycle Club, takes the mic . . .

                                                                                       Shaft continues . . .

After the proceedings ended, some of the Buffalo Soldiers and “Rae” Running, gathered to recall some memories . . .

Rae Running surrounded by two members of the El Paso, Texas Club as all get ready to leave for the dining Hall  . . .


Better-than-new P-47 Thunderbolt debuts at AirVenture 23

         Virg Hemphill

Here’s a great story from one of our top Aviation Scout Reporters, Virg Hemphill (L), a former USAF ADC Fighter Pilot, Delta Airlines Senior Pilot, a long-time FASF member, as well as the Treasurer of El Paso, TX Flight 24 of the military Aviator Fraternity, the Daedalians.

The story is courtesy of GENERAL AVIATION NEWS and written by Frederick Johnsen.  Virg ads, regarding the P and later the F-47 “Thunderbolt,” this on-point quote from Major General William E. Kepner, of the Eighth Air Force Fighter Command:


“If it can be said that the P-38s struck the Luftwaffe in its vitals and the P-51s gave the coup de grace, it was the Thunderbolt that broke its back.” 

Here’s the story:

  The restored Republic P-47D Thunderbolt at AirVenture 2023. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

The following video is thanks to AirShowStuff which takes some of the finest videos at each year’s AirVenture at Oshkosh.  The Video is just over 5 minutes long.  We recommend watching this video in Full-Screen Mode, by clicking on the FS Square in the lower right.

AirCorps Aviation of Bemidji, Minnesota, walked away with the Grand Champion World War II award and the Phoenix Award at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023 for the work they performed on a Republic P-47D Thunderbolt abandoned in New Guinea during World War II.

AirCorps has smartly harnessed computer power to recreate parts from two-dimensional drawings or sample items, creating intelligent computer-aided drafting tools.

Matching that digital savvy, AirCorps Aviation has an eye for vintage construction process details that add to the look and feel of its restorations.

The latest result from the company’s shop is the only flying Republic-built razorback Thunderbolt. (Planes of Fame Air Museum has a flying razorback that is a license-built P-47G made by Curtiss, for the purists in the audience.)

Razorback Thunderbolts have a high fuselage fairing behind the cockpit that narrows to a ridge — or razorback — at its apex.

Erik Hokuf of AirCorps Aviation told a standing-room-only crowd at AirVenture during a Warbirds in Review session that the P-47 incorporates more than 40,000 parts in its large airframe.

The Warbirds in Review ramp at AirVenture allows unique aircraft like the P-47D restoration to be highlighted in popular programs featuring restorers, pilots, and re-enactors as seen in the photo taken from the top of one of the sets of bleachers that were filled to capacity for the Thunderbolt presentation. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

All the rivets in the P-47 were removed during restoration. The skin is new, and the large ovoid cowling was manufactured in-house by AirCorps.

Construction of the cowling, as well as other externally visible parts of the massive wings and fuselage, involved spot-welding internal structure to the skin.

Frosted silver striping on portions of the wings and fuselage of the P-47 are byproducts of the construction technique used in spot welding skin to the underlying structure. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

Republic used an acid-etch in strips along the skin where spot welding would take place, and this resulted in a different sheen that stands out on this bare metal airframe.

Formers were temporarily attached to the skin in a few strategic locations with Cleco fasteners to ensure proper fit and alignment before the spot welding was conducted. Subsequently, the Clecos were removed, and the holes for the Clecos were plugged with rivets.

The result is an industrial, functional look that AirCorps reproduced.

Rows of realistic-looking .50-caliber ammunition were placed into the wing ammo bays of the P-47D on display in the Warbirds area at AirVenture 2023. The award-winning restoration left nothing to the imagination in its pursuit of authenticity. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

Over time, the skin will acquire a patina that diminishes the prominence of the etching stripes.

If warbird rebuilds of 40 or 50 years ago sometimes were shiny and salon-looking, efforts in recent years have emphasized realistic construction details that provide an authentic, and intense, time-machine look.

The knife-edge windscreen of the razorback Thunderbolts is made of curved laminated safety glass. For the restoration, AirCorps outsourced new glass to do the job properly.

Erik Hokuf of AirCorps Aviation has every reason to smile, with the P-47D his team nurtured over 12 years in restoration displayed prominently at Oshkosh during AirVenture 2023. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

How long does such a restoration from the ground up take? How about more than a decade? The hulk of the P-47 arrived at AirCorps Aviation in 2011.

The P-47 is powered by a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 engine.

But not just any R-2800 would do for this spot-on restoration. It had to be the correct Dash-59 version, properly mated to a Curtiss Electric C542S-A114 symmetrical wide-blade propeller.

While some P-47 restorations fly suitably well with Hamilton Standard propellers, the matching of the proper Curtiss propeller with this engine gives this restoration faster acceleration, pilot Bernie Vasquez told the AirVenture crowd.

He added the high streamlining of the razorback versions of the P-47 create less drag than found on later bubble-canopy Thunderbolts.

Several times during the week Vasquez delighted the Oshkosh crowd with powerful flying demonstrations of the P-47.

It’s an easy time travel back to World War II in the Pacific when Bernie Vasquez put the pristine P-47D through its paces during AirVenture 2023. (Photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)

This P-47, putting out more than 2,300 horsepower, is equipped with a water-alcohol injection tank to cool the engine for brief periods of high-power activity.



The Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot, North Dakota, is the home of this fabulous warbird. The museum opted to have the Thunderbolt painted in the markings of P-47 ace William Dunham of the 348th Fighter Group.

Dunham earned 16 victories over Japanese aircraft by the war’s end. He is also remembered for a mission in which he watched a Japanese pilot bail out of the aircraft Dunham had just shot.

Stories of Japanese pilots gunning Americans as they drifted in their parachutes initially prompted Dunham to line up on the enemy aviator for that treatment in the heat of battle. But he stopped short of firing at his opposing flier and watched him plunge into the sea, with no life jacket visible.

Dunham flew low overhead and tossed out his own life jacket to the Japanese pilot in the water.

The ultimate fate of that downed enemy flier has been lost to history, but Dunham’s chivalry lives on in the Thunderbolt painted to represent his aircraft.



About Frederick Johnsen:

Fred Johnsen is a product of the historical aviation scene in the Pacific Northwest. The author of numerous historical aviation books and articles, Fred was an Air Force historian and curator. Now he devotes his energies to coverage for GAN as well as the Airailimages YouTube Channel. You can reach him at

Two of These World War II Myths Are Often Still Believed

The following short (2:00 minute + 33 second ad for the SMITHSONIAN) video clip is of the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor which began the overt entry of the United States in WWII.  The two videos in this story may be seen without going to YouTube, because they are “embedded” right here – on this page.  You might enjoy seeing them more impressively in FULL-SCREEN mode by clicking on the small  ‘box’ in the lower right corner of each video.

    Jerry Dixon

Former US Marine Corps Pilot, long time FASF member and Officer of Flight 24 of the Daedalian Society, FASF Aviation Reporter, Jerry Dixon (L) sent this story to us:

Two Pearl Harbor myths that seem to have real staying power – even today.

1 – The U.S. was “lucky” that the aircraft carriers were not in Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941.

Not sure how this one got started but it’s been around as long as I can remember. The problem is, there was little to no chance that a US aircraft carrier would have been in Pearl Harbor in 1941.

It was rare to have one in port anytime . . . and no chance for two (2) to be there.

In 1941, the US had 7 CV (aircraft carriers), and of those, two were operating out of Pearl Harbor. However, Pearl Harbor was not their home port. San Diego, CA was.

So why was it “rare” to have a carrier “in Pearl Harbor”? Well, it was because Pearl Harbor in 1941 was not one of the top bases for the US Navy. It was in fact relatively small and shallow, compared to say, Puget Sound, San Diego, Oakland, or San Pedro. So when one of the pre-war carriers entered the harbor to refuel and restock stores, it created a lot of traffic problems and headaches. Because of this extra hassle,  they got a carrier in and out as fast as possible. If either of the carriers needed a longer port stay, it would return to San Diego, not stay at Pearl Harbor.

Because of these traffic and space issues, the carriers were scheduled in and out to avoid having both needing to refuel at the same time. So the ships worked on a rotating schedule that effectively meant, only one need to visit at any given time, and in fact, both were gone the vast majority of the time.

Thus it was never the case that “both” carriers would have been at Pearl Harbor on December 7th. And it was highly unlikely on any given day that even a single carrier would be there. Thus even the Japanese knew it was highly unlikely they would find even a single carrier in the harbor when they decided to stage the attack.

It wasn’t “luck” it was very much against the odds that a carrier would have been in Pearl Harbor for an attack.

2 – The Japanese devised a very original and clever plan for how to attack Pearl Harbor, and they were inspired by the British attack on the Italian Navy.

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor followed a very meticulous plan, but it was not a Japanese or British plan. Ironically the attack plan that the Japanese were inspired by and followed closely was in fact created by and executed by a US Navy Admiral and the US Navy itself.

The first Pearl Harbor attack plan and subsequent attack occurred on February 7th, 1932, nine years prior to the Japanese attack. Rear Admiral Harry Yarnell, was assigned the command of the “aggressor” forces in the annual Pacific Fleet exercises in which mock attacks were planned on US facilities. Yarnell was assigned command of the aggressors who were to attack Pearl Harbor.

The standard approach in 1930 was for the aggressors to send their battleships forward supported by aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. And the battleships would slug it out.

But for this exercise, Yarnell one of the few believers in the power of naval aviation, decided to “not follow the script” as was custom. He took his fleet to sea but ordered his battleships and cruisers to remain out to sea and maneuver off the coast of California.

Yarnell then took his two aircraft carriers with the destroyers and entered a westerly moving storm hiding in it all the way to Hawaii. (in 1932 the U.S. had not yet develped weather and/or weather piercing RADAR). The storm shielded his ships from aircraft and he travelled in radio silence.

His plan called for his ships to emerge from the storm early on Sunday morning February 7th northwest of Oahu. From this position, Yarnell sent his aircraft east just past the island, had them hook around to the south and then to the west arriving with the sun behind them as they came in over Diamond Head and into their attack on the anchorage and airfields.

Yarnell had picked a Sunday because he expected to catch the fleet unprepared and napping on what was a “day off”.

Despite the Navy and Army knowing an exercise was in progress his plan worked perfectly. Using flower bags for bombs, the aggressors managed to completely disable the airfields and sink all the battleships in the harbor. The attack achieved complete surprise and was an overwhelming success. The umpires awarded the Yarnell forces a total victory and declared the attack completely successful. The ships were “sunk,” and “the airfield was completely disabled.”

Later, Army and Navy brass complained that Yarnell had “cheated” and it was “unfair” and “inappropriate” to have attacked on Sunday morning, so much so that the result was reversed. But while the Army and Navy brass were whining, the Japanese took note.

8 years and 10 months later the Japanese followed a storm to the Hawaiian Island, and on a Sunday morning, emerged from the storm to send their planes east of Oahu to attack out of the sun, against the airfields and harbor. The Japanese Imperial Navy followed Yarnell’s plan precisely – – – and, as did Yarnell almost 9 years earlier – they achieved complete and overwhelming success.

If any of you readers have other similar WWII myths – – –  or similar stories to share, please let us know by commenting in the “LEAVE A REPLY” field at the bottom of this page.

Here is another film (just under 15 minutes long) from the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, This short documentary tells the story of Harold & Eda Oberg, both of whom had just recently arrived on Oahu, where Harold, a US Army Air Corps Technical Sergeant, had been assigned to Hickam Army Airfield.  When they awoke that fateful Sunday morning in their Apartment on 16th street, it was to the bedlam of roaring planes and exploding bombs and ships in the close-by Navy Port.  Immediatedly, upon recognizing the Emperial Rising Sun insignia on a rapildy diving bomber, Harold donned his helmet and rushed off for his duty post at Hickam.  Eda, thinking, after the first wave of planes had left, that the attack was over, grabbed their new 8mm cameral, which was already loaded with fresh color film, and began shooting.  This is an extraordinary film, especially since it is in color, and a rare footage of that fateful day’s attack on the Harbor and Airfield by the Japanese.

Daedalians Award Top Leadership Prize to 8th FS Graduate

Saturday afternoon, the 9th of this month, 3 long-time FASF/Daedalians drove out to witness the Graduation Ceremonies for 9 young new USAF F-16 Viper Fighter Pilots. All graduates were from the 8th Fighter Squadron, informally and affectionately known as the Black Sheep Squadron. Of the 9 class graduates, one was a female fighter pilot.  The 8th is one of the three Fighter Training Squadrons that belong to the 54th Fighter Group, whose Commander was at the same dining table at the Holloman AFB Club as the Daedalians.  The following photos show the event.  The Guest speaker was a retired Brigadier General, Joseph “Magoo” McFall, also a F-16 VIPER pilot, who entertained the graduates, staff, and guests with some wild flying stories from his colorful past.

Col. Mario Campos

Here (L) is long-time FASF member and FAS contributor, Colonel Mario Campos.  Following is Mario’s description of General Joseph “McGoo” McFall’s presentation to the Black Sheep Squadron Graduates, their families, guests, and assembled staff:

The members of the El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 were privileged to be invited as guests of the 8th Fighter Squadron for the graduation of new F-16 Fighter Pilots from Class 22- EBH, Holloman AFB, New Mexico.

“Flight members, Mario Campos, Alan Fisher, and Ric Lambart attended and presented the Daedalian Major Gen Franklin A. Nichols’ Leadership Award to Captain Michael “Full” Shaw. Captain Shaw’s next assignment is in the Far East.

The evening’s guest speaker was Brig. Gen. (Ret), Joseph D. “Magoo” McFall. An experienced Viper Pilot, Gen. McFall finished his career as Senior Military Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. Extraordinarily, if not uniquely, for a Flag Officer, Gen. McFall continues to serve the F-16 community as a contract VIPER instructor at Holloman AFB.

During his address, Gen McFall gave four main points:

  1. Know Yourself;
  2. Appreciate Others;
  3. Be Happy;
  4. Be Human.

As he went through his speech, Gen McFall gave a thoughtful personal story to reinforce the importance of each point. All of them revolved around not only competency, but also around leadership and treating others with the same respect one would expect for themselves.   He further relayed how each of these points affected him in both peacetime and in combat.

The members of the 24th Flight wish Capt. Shaw (below photos) and all the new Fighter Pilots of Class 22-EBH only the greatest of success in their new assignments and careers. Also, many thanks to Capt. Brett Bultsma (seen in the below photos), an 8th FS Instructor Pilot, for his outstanding work as graduation project officer and for all the assistance he provided to Daedalian Flight 24.

The Graduates were: 1st Lt. Emna “ZONA” Bonner, Capt. Daniel “DAS” Boutillier, Capt. Daniel “KATS” Katuzienski, 1st Lt. Scott “HOBBLE” Aauritsen, 1st Lt. Drake “Sir Francis” Martin, 1st Lt. Seth “NOTSO” Sharpe, Captain Michael “FULL” Shaw, 1st Lt. Zachary “TONE” Siffler and 1st Lt. Ryan “DIBS” Woodall.  You’ll see each of them in the following photo further down this page.  To see any photo in its full hi-definition, just click on it.  You are welcome and free to download any photos you’d like.

The assembled dining hall was filled with family and special guests, as well as the Holloman Air Force Base personnel who played a vital role in the graduates’ advanced Fighter Pilot Training Experience.  The Daedalians award the graduating Class’s top Leader, with the unique Daedalian Leadership Award.

Again, this class’s top Leadership Award was given to Captain Michael “FULL” Shaw.  The Project Officer for the event was Captain Brett “MULLIGAN” Bultsma, a decorated Fighter Pilot and one of the Squadron’s Instructors, all of whom have actual battle experience.  The renowned F-16 Viper has been a first-line Fighter in the USAF for more years than the age of every one of the new graduate pilots.

 L to R: Lt. Col. Alan Fisher, Project Officer Capt. Brett Bultsma, and Colonel Mario Campos.

L to R: Captain Bultsma grins at Daedalian, Ric Lambart’s old-timer Air Force ramblings.

Col. Alan Fisher, 8th FS Project Officer, Captain Brett Bultsman, and Colonel Mario Campos.

Capt. Brett Bultsma, Graduation Project Officer, explains the roots of his call sign, “Mulligan.”        (This is a 50-second video clip. You can see it full-screen by using the “full” size icon)

L to R: Capt. Brett Bultsma and Lt. Colonel Matthew “Poison” Marshall, the 8th’s Commander

Col. Campos chatting with 54th Fighter Group CO, Col. Samuel Stitt, III & his wife, Meghan

L to R: Colonel “Tweak” Stitt, Meghan Stitt, Cols Alan Fisher & Mario Campos, Daedalians

L to R: Col. Samuel Sitt, Meghan Stitt, Chief MS Nathan Chrestensen, & Colonel Alan Fisher

    Colonel Stitt describes a flight experience he had with the usual hangar talk gestures . . .

  Major Donald “Sizzle” Lodge-Maragh at the Podium, as Captain Brett Bultsma looks on.

Colonel Matthew “POISON” Marshall, CO of the 8th Fighter Squadron addresses the audience

General (Retired) Joseph “McGoo” McFall speaks to the class and guests about his days on active duty as an Air Force Fighter Pilot. The General has over 2,800 hours, 795 of which were in combat while piloting the F-16 Viper, the same aircraft flown by this class’ new graduates.

Longtime FASF member and Daedalian El Paso, Texas Flight 24 Commander, Colonel Mario Campos, Congratulates Captain Michael “FULL” Shaw, who won the coveted Daedalian Leadership award.

L to R, All 9 graduates of “The Black Sheep” 8th Fighter Squadron Class 22-EBH: Capt Daniel “DAS” Boutillier, 1Lt Drake “Sir Francis” Martin, Capt Michael “Full” Shaw, 1Lt Emma “Zona” Bonner, 1Lt Scott “Hobble” Lauritsen, 1Lt Seth “NOTSO” Sharpe, 1Lt Zachary “Tone” Stiffler, Capt Daniel “KATS” Katuzienski, and 1Lt Ryan “DIBS” Woodall.Colonel Campos chats with top-class LEADER, Captain  “FULL” Shaw, about his USAF career. Colonels Mario Campos and Alan Fisher proudly flank top award winner, Capt. Michael ShawCaptain Michael “FULL” Shaw listens to Colonel Fisher describe some of his USAF experiences

Replica WWI and II Planes Built From Recycled Materials

    Jerry Dixon

This is brought to us by one of our most active News Scouts, Jerry Dixon (L), a former USMC pilot and long-time FASF member. It’s a short video (5:48) yet an interesting look into a retired Canadian, Ian Baron, who is mighty handy with a welding torch and an unusual form of creativity.

Here’s the video – just remember to open it to full-screen for the best high-definition viewing.


Col. Campos, Addresses the U.S. Military Recruiting Crisis

Col.Mario Campos, USAF Ret.

Colonel Mario Campos (L) just presented this treatise on the current Recruiting crisis experienced by all US Military Services except for the US Marine Corps.  In particular, he focused on the issue experienced by the USAF, his service in Which he was one of the Air Force’s Senior Recruiting Commanders.  Colonel Campos is a long-time member of the FASF and is the present Flight Captain of the El Paso, TX Daedalian Society (Aviation Fraternity of current and former US military aviators started by a group of WWI pilots).


To view Colonel Campos’ presentation, simply click on the below link and it will open for your enjoyment and edification!

The 2023 Air Force Recruiting Crisis

One of America’s Most Lethal Weapons – Is Using Highways!

Let’s look at the infamous and long-serving air-to-ground, ground-support aircraft, the Warthog, or Thunderbolt II (named after Republic Aviation’s WWII Powerhouse, the P-47 Thunderbolt). Let’s watch this lethal ground-support weapon showing off in the series of videos that follow. The current Thunderbolt II fighter was first manufactured by FAIRCHILD-REPUBLIC, which was then merged into the present NORTHRUP-GRUMMAN CORPORATION.

This 8-minute video is courtesy of MAXIMUS AVIATION and was taken by a Go-Pro Action Camera from inside the cockpit of a Michigan Air Guard Warthog busily practicing landings and takeoffs from a state highway.  The pilot is Captain “CAPS” Renner. 

After the video starts, click on the Full-Screen icon in the lower right of each video.

[You do not have to watch these clips on YouTube – – – watch any video right on this FASF site]

The following 9:36 length video is bought to you by US Military News . . .

Thanks to Mil-Way, we next witness the truth vs. propaganda by the USAF that it is ready to scuttle the using the A10 Warthog. This clip is 6:34 long.

And, finally, we get a look at the Amazing Warthog that successfully, notwithstanding being riddled from heavy ground fire over Bagdad and heavily damaged flight controls, an American Hero, this time a female fighter pilot, survived . . . and even brought her ship back to its base safely.

Here, below is an introduction to this brave and extremely competent A10 Thunderbolt II combat Pilot. This is only 2:08 long:

The story of Capt. Kim Campbell follows below in a short clip lasting 8:02 minutes.

AFA Cadet Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell (L) wanted to be a fighter pilot long before she was even in High School.  Raised near San Jose, CA, her first break came when she joined the Civil Air Patrol (CAP), which is an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.  it was there that she made her first moves towards becoming a pilot, soloing a Cessna when she was just 17, and then successfully gaining admission to the Air Force Academy (AFA) (L). Here are some other photos throughout her 24 years on active duty and as a civilian, where she is now a professional motivational speaker.

Captioned photo of then Captain Campbell under her terminally damaged Warthog fighter.

C                                                     Captain Campbell under her damaged A10 Warthog Fighter

     Colonel Campbell with her two boys and husband, also an Air Force Full Colonel

                                                          KC Campbell, Motivational Speaker

Her second book is soon to be published.



314th Fighter Squadron Graduates Dozen New Viper Pilots

 Colonel Mario Campos

This post was written – and photographed – by Colonel (Ret) Mario Campos (L), current Captain of Daedalian Flight 24 in El Paso, TX, all of which members are also members of the FASF.

On 22 April 2023, members of the 24th Flight attended the 314th Fighter Squadron’s F-16 graduation ceremonies for Class 22-DBH from Holloman AFB, NM.



The evening’s guest speaker was Col Leonard “Lucky” Ekman, USAF (Ret) (below) who logged over 4100 hours in fighter aircraft with 1600 of those being combat hours in 287 missions over Vietnam in F-105 and F-105G Wild Weasels. His “luck” extended during a mission over Vietnam where he was shot down and successfully rescued. Col Ekman retired in 1990 as the Vice Commander of the 16th Air Force. An avid glider pilot, he has his sights set on completing 1000 glider hours soon. Amongst Col Ekman’s greatest accomplishments are that both his son and daughter were also fighter pilots.            (To see the above US Air Force Academy photo full size, just click on it)

Col Ekman spoke about tactical call signs and their evolution.  He mentioned how today’s fighter pilots get their call signs and how many would be embarrassed to give the real story of how they were given to them.  He mentioned that early in Vietnam, personal call signs didn’t exist and were really a daily rotating call sign given to a flight that pilots would sometimes forget.  He explained that a strike package (mission attack plan) could exist of numerous types of aircraft and if someone called “Lead, Break Right,” many would respond “Say Call Sign” because of the confusion caused by not knowing the daily call sign.  After attending the Navy’s Top Gun Course where he apparently first witnessed the Navy tradition of each fighter pilot having his own personal call sign or “handle,” he saw the practical need for these individual tactical call signs that could be easily remembered.  Col Ekman then implemented this Navy tradition when he became a Squadron Commander.

Col Ekman concluded by congratulating the new fighter pilots and reminding them to enjoy the call signs they’ve received – or will end up with – because they’ll contribute to some great memories.

     Capt Lee & Col Pitt

During ceremonies, the 24th Flight’s senior-most member, Col. Bob Pitt (R),  proudly presented Maj Gen Franklin A. Nichols Daedalians Leadership Award to Captain Matthew “WOB” Lee (L) who will go on to fly F-16  Vipers at Kunsan AB, Korea. Below, at right are Captain Lee, his mother, Mrs. Lee, and Col. Pitt.

In another reunion moment for a member of the 24th Flight, Class 22-DBH’s Distinguished Graduate was Capt Barry “Mutombo” MacNeill (below left) who happens to be the son of Barry “Bear” McNeill, a former F-4G Weasel EWO (Electronic Weapons Officer) and F-15E WSO (Weapons System Officer).

Capt Barry McNeil & LC Sanford

Bear had an outstanding career in the Air Force including Squadron and Operations Group Commander in the 98th Range Wing at Nellis AFB and Deputy Director of the Air Force Joint Test and Evaluation Program where he retired from the Air Force.  Bear is now Vice President at Amentum Corp.  Bear and current 24th Flight Captain Mario Campos were both Instructor EWOs at the 453d Flying Training Squadron at Mather AFB, CA in the late 80s.  Bear also served with 24th Flight Member Lt Col (Ret) Miles “Cowboy” Crowell in the F-15E!  Cowboy (at R below) was at the event to present the Red River Rats Association Award to Lt Matthew “Minnie” Dunlap.

Lt Matthew Dunlap & Col.Crowell

The 24th Flight congratulates the eleven newest fighter pilots of Class 22-DBH and wishes them only the very best in their future careers. The Flight would also like to thank 314 FS Commander, Lt Col Kirby “Fuel” Sanford and his outstanding staff for hosting the members of the 24th on this momentous occasion.

All members of the 314th shouted out their squadron’s slogan,  Strike,” as the event came to a close.



Flight 24 learns the history of the 24th Regiment 1916-1922

           Dr. Robert Bouilly

This past week, now retired, Dr. Robert Bouilly (Left), formerly the official Historian for the Ft. Bliss Army Sergeant Majors Academy, presented the colorful history of the famous all-negro* 24th Infantry Regiment which fought valiantly under General Black Jack Pershing during the Punitive Expedition of 1916 and 1917 and followed their exploits during WWI and then back in Columbus until the closing of Camp Furlong in 1922.

Dr. Bouilly has been a long-time advisor to the FASF and has provided many rare photographs of both First Aero Squadron aircraft and of its personnel that were taken during that same Pershing Expedition into Mexico – – – and he even uncovered some from the FAS’ activities during WWI and shortly thereafter.  He has already been documented in several past posts on this FASF website.

Having lunch prior to Dr. Boully’s talk are L-R: Col. Bob Pitt, Dr. Bouilly, Col. Mario Campos, Judy Campos, and Col. Melissa Fisher.

Dr. Bouilly shared his extensive knowledge of the famed 24th Regiment and its extraordinary history. The following was described by Dr. Bouilly and is embellished, thanks to “’s” extensive Army Historical citations, which covered the 24th during the same period.

L – R in the foreground: Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill, Roger Springstead, Julie Pitt, and Connie Sullivan. Standing in the back are Col. Mellissa Fisher and Col. Bob Pitt.

If you search for Dr. Bouilly’s involvement with the FASF in the search window on the front home page, you will discover how active he has been with us since our inception in 2007.

Giving the traditional toasts are (L-R): Connie Sullivan, Julie Pitt, Col. Bob Pitt, Roger Springstead, Virg Hemphill, Larry Spradlin, and Jerry Dixon.

    Colonel Campos conducted the meeting prior to Dr. Bouilly’s talk. In the foreground at the left is Mrs. Ulla Rice.

Prior to the official presentation, Connie Sullivan sang to the group.

                                   Dr. Bouilly describes the 24th Regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers

The 24th Infantry Regiment (one of the renowned Buffalo Soldier regiments) was organized on November 1, 1869, from the 38th and 41st (Colored) Infantry Regiments. All the enlisted soldiers were black, either as veterans of the U.S. Colored Troops or freedmen.

From its call up to active duty in 1898, the 24th Infantry served throughout the Western United States. Its missions included garrisoning frontier posts, battling American Indians, protecting roadways against bandits, and guarding the border between the United States and Mexico.

L to R: Larry Spradlin, Jerry Dixon, Virg Hemphill, Roger Springstead, Col. Bob Pitt, and Julie Pitt listening to Dr. Bouilly.

Spanish-American War

The year 1898 saw the 24th Infantry deployed to Cuba as part of the U.S. Expeditionary Force in the Spanish-American War. At the climactic battle of San Juan Hill, supported by intensive fire from the Gatling Gun Detachment, units of the 24th Infantry, accompanied by elements of the 6th and 13th Infantry Regiments, assaulted and seized the Spanish-held blockhouse and trench system atop San Juan Hill.

Philippine-American War

            The 24th U.S. Infantry at drill, Camp Walker, Philippine Islands 1902

In 1899 the regiment deployed to the Philippine Islands to help suppress a guerrilla movement in the Philippine-American War. The regiment returned to the Islands in 1905 and 1911. Though the 24th fought a number of battles in the Philippines, one of the most notable occurred on December 7, 1899, when nine soldiers from the regiment routed 100 guerrillas from their trenches.

(For those of you familiar with the First Aero Squadron’s most famous commander at Columbus in 1916, then Captain Benjamin D. Foulois, had received his Officer’s Commission while stationed in the Philippines as a member of the 17th Infantry Regiment at the same time as the 24th played a role in that same foreign expedition.)

Mexican Border

In 1916 the 24th Infantry guarded the U.S.-Mexico border to keep the Mexican Revolution from spilling onto U.S. soil. When it did, the 24th joined the “Punitive Expedition” under General Black Jack Pershing and entered Mexico to fight Pancho Villa‘s forces. In 1919, rebels and troops of the Mexican government fought in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, which borders the U.S. city of El Paso, Texas. The 24th Infantry crossed over once again to engage the rebels, ensuring that no violence erupted across the U.S. border.

Pre-World War I and the Houston Riot

The Houston Riot (1917) was a mutiny by 150 black soldiers of the Twenty-fourth United States Infantry, called the Camp Logan Riots. Sergeant Vida Henry of I Company, 3rd Battalion led about 150 black soldiers in a two-hour march on Houston because they had suffered racial discrimination in the city.

The soldiers were met by local policemen and a great crowd of Houston residents, who had armed themselves. When the soldiers killed Captain J.W. Mattes of the Illinois National Guard (after mistaking him for a local policeman), the battalion fell into disarray. Sgt. Henry shot himself, distraught over having killed another serviceman. In their two-hour march on the city, the battalion killed 15 armed whites, including four policemen, and seriously wounded 12 others, one of whom, a policeman, subsequently died. Four black soldiers were killed. Two were accidentally shot by their own men, one in camp and the other on San Felipe Street. The riot lasted one afternoon and resulted in the deaths of four soldiers and 15 civilians. The rioters were tried at three court-martials. Fourteen were executed, and 41 were given life sentences.

World War II

At the start of World War II, the 24th Infantry was stationed at Fort Benning as School Troops for the Infantry School. They participated in the Carolina Maneuvers of October – December 1941. During World War II, the 24th Infantry fought in the South Pacific Theatre as a separate regiment. Deploying on April 4, 1942, from the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, the regiment arrived in the New Hebrides Islands on May 4, 1942. The 24th moved to Guadalcanal on August 28, 1943, and was assigned to the US XIV Corps. 1st Battalion deployed to Bougainville, attached to the 37th Infantry Division, from March to May 1944 for perimeter defense duty. The regiment departed Guadalcanal on December 8, 1944, and landed on Saipan and Tinian on December 19, 1944, for Garrison Duty which included mopping up the remaining Japanese forces that had yet to surrender. The regiment was assigned to the Pacific Ocean Area Command on March 15, 1945, and then to the Central Pacific Base Command on May 15, 1945, and to the Western Pacific Base Command on June 22, 1945.

The regiment departed Saipan and Tinian on July 9, 1945, and arrived on the Kerama Islands off Okinawa on July 29, 1945. At the end of the war, the 24th took the surrender of forces on the island of Aka-Shima, the first formal surrender of a Japanese Imperial Army garrison. The regiment remained on Okinawa through 1946.

Korean War

From the end of World War II through 1947, the 24th occupied Okinawa, Japan, after which it relocated to Gifu, Japan. On February 1, 1947, the regiment reorganized as a permanent regiment of the 25th Infantry Division. Despite the desegregation of the U.S. armed forces in 1948 by Executive Order 9981, the 24th Infantry remained predominantly African–American, with an officer corps of both African and European Americans. In late June 1950, soon after North Korea invaded South Korea, the 24th deployed to Korea to assist in the Korean War.

The 24th Infantry fought throughout the entire Korean peninsula, from the defense of the “Pusan Perimeter” to its breakout and the pursuit of communist forces well into North Korea, to the Chinese counteroffensives, and finally to U.N. counteroffensives that stabilized near the current Demilitarized Zone. The regiment received the Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation for its defense of the Pusan Perimeter. The regiment also had two posthumous Medal of Honor recipients, Cornelius H. Charlton and William Thompson.

The cases of Lieutenant Leon Gilbert court-martialed for refusing an order from the 24th’s commanding officer (who was white), and of some other members of the 24th, helped bring greater attention to problems of segregation and discrimination within the U.S. military.

The landing at Inchon by U.S. and ROK forces on September 15 finally compelled the North Koreans to withdraw from the Pusan Perimeter. The 24th Infantry was divided into Task Forces Blair and Corley (named for their commanders), and they, along with several from other commands, began pursuing the enemy on September 27.

                                       24th Infantry moves up to the firing line.

The 25th Division remained in South Korea until ordered north in late November to participate in the Chongchon operation. Later in November, overwhelming assaults by Chinese troops forced the U.S. Eighth Army to withdraw. On November 29, the Chinese 40th Army flanked the 24th Infantry’s line north of the Chongchon River in North Korea, forcing the neighboring 9th Regiment of the 2nd Division to withdraw.

On November 30, the 3/24th was at Kunu-ri, on the division’s open right flank, with Chinese troops behind it. With the help of air support, the battalion extricated itself, losing one soldier killed, 30 wounded and 109 missing. Overall, the 24th Infantry lost one-fifth of its officers and one-third of its enlisted men in the withdrawal across the Chongchon. Colonel Corley blamed the disarray of the 3rd Battalion on its commander, Lt. Col. Melvin E. Blair, whom he summarily relieved.

The Eighth Army’s withdrawal did not cease until the force was well below the 39th parallel north. But by early March 1951, the American and ROK troops were again ready for a full-scale offensive.

On March 6, the 25th Division advanced across the Han River. The 1/24th did well, moving over difficult terrain against an entrenched enemy. The 3rd Battalion initially also performed well, executing a hastily devised river crossing and advancing through rough country against well-dug-in Chinese troops, far from the 1st Battalion. While climbing up steep terrain, however, the 1/24th reportedly collapsed under Chinese fire and withdrew in disorder. When the division commander learned of that action, his confidence in the 24th plummeted. Many soldiers of the 24th ran away from the fight, tossing their weapons and equipment aside. A derisive poem throughout the U.S. Army stated: When them Chinese mortars begin to thud, the Old Deuce-Four begin to bug.

Although the 24th performed well in the attack north of the Han and the subsequent general withdrawal of the Eighth Army after the Chinese spring offensive of 1951, its reputation was somewhat tarnished. But it performed well in the Army’s drive back north in May and June 1951.

In August, the regiment’s new commander, Colonel Thomas D. Gillis, prodded by the division commander, closely examined the 24th’s record in Korea. Determining that leadership had been the problem, he relieved a number of officers. After the change in command, Company F conducted a valiant bayonet and grenade charge on September 15. But, the positive performance of Company F was ignored by higher commands and the news media. By October 1, 1951, the 24th was dissolved.

  • While the enlisted troops were all Negros, almost all of the officers were Caucasians.

311th Fighter Squadron Graduates 10 New F16 Fighter Pilots

Colonel Michael P. Driscoll (above) is the Commander of the 54th Fighter Group, at Holloman AFB (HAFB), New Mexico. He is responsible for the operations of the largest F-16 Formal Training Unit. The 54th Fighter Group consists of more than 400 people including three F-16 Fighter Squadrons, an Operations Support Squadron, and a Training Squadron.  This class, 22-CBH, of the 311th Fighter Squadron, is one of the three Squadrons he commands. Previously, Colonel Driscoll served as the Director of Plans and Integration, USAF  Warfare Center, Nellis AFB, NV.   This is his third deployment to Holloman AFB.     Photo Courtesy of the United States Air Force.

   311th Fighter Squadron Flight Instructor, Capt. Zachary “Fyst” Rutledge Opened ceremonies as the official MC

At this point, it is appropriate to point out that your webmaster is deeply thankful for all the help provided behind the scenes by Captain “Fyst” Rutledge (above) who helped identify all the members and guests in each of the following photos, which you are free to download in full Hi-Res once you first click on the photo in which you are interested to see it full-sized.  As soon as the opening ceremonies were concluded it was time for dinner as seen below.

                     Lt. Colonel Austin “CODE” Brown, the 311th Commander, helps open the festivities.

L to R in the foreground in the lineup for dinner are Col. Mike Driscoll, 54th Group Commander, and his wife, Sonia

Mrs. Sonia Driscoll, the 54th Group Commander’s wife, chats with FASF member and Daedalin, Col. Alan Fisher

L to R at the head table are Col. Bob Pitt, Col. Mario Campos, Col. Alan Fisher (all long-time FASF members and El Paso, TX Daedalian Flight 24 members), Mrs. Sonia and Colonel Mike Driscoll, CMSgt Nathan Chrestensen, and MSgt. Roidan Carlson.  Colonel Pitt (L), a former F4 Fighter Pilot in Vietnam, animatedly describes one of his missions.

(L) Captain Luke “HODR” Farrell, Graduating B Course Student, Presents A1C Danny Pham with the “Most Valuable Crew Chief Award.”

L to R: Capt. Luke “HODR” Farrell presented “The Hammer Award” to Lt. Colonel Austin “Code” Brown.

L to R: Lt. Colonel James “TRACE” Hayward, Director of Operations 311th FS, gives the cherished Red River Rat (From the Vietnam conflict) Award to Capt. Rick “FIFA” Depaola, one of the graduating students.

L to R: Daedalian Flight 24 Flight Captain, Colonel Mario Campos presents the Daedalian Leadership Award to graduating Student, Capt. Luke “HODR” Farrell.

L to R:  Maj Eric “HAVOC” Hakos, 311th instructor pilot, giving the Top Pencil Award to Capt Rick “FIFA” Depaola

L to R: Maj Timothy “STEAL” Miller, 311th instructor pilot, giving the Air to Air Top Gun Award to 1st Lt Andy “PIERCE” In

L to R: Capt Austin “CRUD” Hornsby, 311th instructor pilot giving the Air to Ground Top Gun Award to 1st Lt. Logan “PINT” Albers

L to R: Lt. Colonel Austin “CODE” Brown presents the Distinguished Graduate Award to Lt. Logan “PINT”  Albers

L to R: (1) Capt Luke “HODR” Farrell, (2) Capt Brandon “Luigi” Cambio, (3) Capt Thomas “Forrest” Molnar,  (4) 1st Lt Austin “Mario” Reinholz, (5) 1st Lt Andrew “PIERCE” In, (6) 1st Lt Cole “FLCS” Pollock, (7)1st Lt Logan “PINT” Albers, (8 )1st Lt Samuel “Donde” Reindl, (9) 1st Lt Jim “MOTOR” Maier, and (10) Capt Rick “FIFA” Depaola

                            Colonel Austin “CODE” Brown, 311th Squadron Commander, Closed the Ceremonies

L to R: FASF Members and Daedalians, Cols Alan Fisher, Bob Pitt, and Mario Campos, proudly pose with Daedalian Leadership Award recipient, Captain Luke “HODR” Farrell at the end of ceremonies.

L to R: Colonel Bob Pitt with Colonel Dick Jonas: Two old fellow Fighter Pilot pals from the Vietnam Conflict, over 50 years ago, greeted one another and compared notes after not seeing each other since leaving the Far East.  Colonel Jonas entertained the assembled crowd with his Fighter Pilot Ballands, including one about his favorite ship, the F-16 Viper, in which the graduates had just trained.  Colonel Jonas performs this song in the 3:50-long video below.  The first VIPER entered service in 1980, making it now 43 years old, therefore much older than any of the evening’s ten graduating students.

Short biography of F4 & F16 Fighter Pilot – Balladeer Dick Jonas from his Catalog.

Here, below, are the (1) Cover of Dick’s Catalog of songs (and of how you can order one), (2) its inside front cover (Also photographed immediately up above), and (3) the back cover of the catalog.  Just click on each link to see it in PDF format on a new tab of your browser should you like to write Dick for any of his unique songs:

1. imgDickJonas’CatalogCover

2. imgInsideCoverDickJonasCatalog

3. imgDickJonas’CatalogBackCover

Immediately below, is an 11-minute Video about the F-16 Viper in which this class has just graduated.