KITS 03/2022

F-51D-30, 44-74651, Col. William H. Clark, CO of 18th FBG, Hoengsong AB (K-46),

Korea, July 1952

In March 1952 the command of the 18th FBG was assumed by Col. Ernest G. Ford replacing Col. William

H. Clark. Ford led the unit until January 1, 1953. His

Mustang is attractive due to its “decoration”, it carries the 18th FBG insignia on the fuselage starboard

while the port side sports the insignia of all group’s

units which at that time were 12th FBS, 67th FBS and

No. 2 Squadron SAAF. At the same time, behind the

US star this aircraft carried three oblique stripes representing the individual squadrons: red, yellow and

orange-white-blue. On July 28, 1953, a day after the

armistice, which lasts until today, this aircraft was

handed over to the Korean Republic Air Force.

RF-51D-25, 44-84840, Lt. Frank M. Ward, 45th TRS, 67th TRG, Taegu AB (K-2),

Korea, July 1951

The only unit flying Mustangs equipped with a camera, currently designated as RF-51, over the Korean peninsula was 45th Tactical Reconnaissance

Squadron. One of its aircraft was the Sweet Lorraine

proudly carrying the emblem of the State of California on its nose. The further tactical reconnaissance

for the benefit of UN units was cut short in the case

of this Mustang by anti-aircraft fire which forced the

pilot, Lt. Ward to bale out. Sweet Lorraine plunged

into the ground near Yongson-Li and exploded.

RF-51K-10, 44-12237, Lt. Watts/Lt. Taylor, 45th TRS, 67th TRG, Kimpo AB (K-14),

Korea, 1952

The 45th TRS was activated on September 3, 1950 at

Itazuke air base in Japan. Its equipment consisted of

F-51 and RF-51 versions of Mustang. Together with

15th TRS (RF-80) and 12th TRS (RB-26) it was under

command of 57th TRG led by no one else than Col.

Karl I. Polifka, the leading USAF expert on aerial reconnaissance. The reconnaissance Mustangs escor-


INFO Eduard

ted by the standard Mustang fighters initially flew

out of Komaki air base in Japan. Once the situation

and airport equipment permitted in March 1951 they

transferred to the Korean peninsula. First to Taegu

air base and in August of the same year to Kimpo air

base from where it operated until the end of hostilities. One of the 45th TRS aircraft nicknamed Polka

Dot thanks to its colorful markings on the propeller

spinner, wingtips and tail surfaces was this Mustang

named Punkin. Under its windshield it carried the

symbols of ten reconnaissance missions. Its career

was ended on the last day of 1952 by the anti-aircraft

fire near Singo-san. It also cut short the life of its


March 2022