South African No. 2 Squadron

“Flying Cheetahs” was a component

unit of the 18th Fighter Bomber

Group and all units converted from

the Mustang to the Sabre last.

photo: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

(K-10) and landed at Pusan-West (K-1). From

there, they would be flown back by transport

and Americans flew the Mustangs back to K-10.

There were concerns that the South Koreans

Hess later. They then circled above the convoy

until more Mustangs from Taegu and F-80s and

B-26s from Japan arrived. The pair then headed

back to Taegu, was refueled and rearmed, and

When Hess swung around for a definite

repeat, he left 117 destroyed trucks, 38

tanks and countless dead North Koreans

in his wake. General Partridge proclaimed

this to be a pivotal point of the war the

next day.

would have some difficulty utilizing the short

runway at K-10.

Probably, the most well known event to come

out of Bout One occurred on July 11, 1950, when

a pair of aircraft led by CO Dean Hess (the other

pilot being Lt. Timberlake) took off under rainy

conditions fully armed and loaded with rockets

and bombs to attack a North Korean armored

column on a narrow mountain road that, in

turn, had its sights set on the American 25th

Infantry Division. Hess ordered Timberlake to

attack the rear of the convoy while Hess focused on its front. “We plugged up both of the

ends of the convoy with bomb craters and truck

wrecks so that they couldn’t move”, remarked


INFO Eduard

conducted another attack. And then once more

after that. When Hess turned for home that last

time, they left the wrecks of 117 trucks, 38 tanks

and a high number of dead North Korean troops

behind. General Partridge proclaimed this to be

a key point in the war a day later.

Dallas Squadron

While Mustangs were being gathered in the United States in preparation for transport to Korea,

it was also necessary to prepare pilots from

units that had by now flown mainly jet powered

aircraft. Although the USS Boxer had brought

some seventy National Guard pilots for its trip

to Japan, and many of these were experienced

vets, the plan was to have three pilots for each

aircraft to stay true to the adopted system and

character of the entire operation. It was anticipated that each aircraft would fly several

missions per day. Therefore, on July 3, General

Stratemeyer ordered that the 13th AF, at Clark

Field in the Philippines , choose 18th FBG pilots to commit that had until recently flown the

F-51D. Out of this came a unit that was dubbed

‘Dallas Squadron’. The bulk of its personnel

came from the 12th FBS, and all remaining airworthy Mustangs in Japan were reserved for

it, being readied for transfer to Korea at Johnson Air Base. This unit was to absorb Bout One

at Taegu and thus form the 51st FBS(P), a unit

with ‘provisional’ status. Because the situation

had brought about more airworthy Mustangs on

the Japanese islands, conversions of pilots and

personnel from the 40th FIS of the 35th FIG was

also initiated. During this process, F-80 Shooting Star flights continued over Korea, and were

moved there without the interruption of action

on July 14. They began to fly out of Pchohang

(K-3) at the beginning of August. It didn’t take

long for the Mustangs to get some respect. General Timberlake, with significant acknowledgement, proclaimed one Mustang flying out of

Taegu was worth four F-80s out of Japan. The

usefulness of the Mustang was echoed in a memoir by Major Harry Moreland, CO of the 51st

FS(P): “I was in a two-ship flight and we were

going to run the road between Seoul and Taejon

and hit anything we could find. Our first target

was a couple of North Korean trucks that we

July 2022