photo: U.S. Air Force
photo: U.S. Air Force
Major Louis Sebille in front
F-51D pilots returning from a mission. From
of his F-80C. For his bravery
left to right: 1st Lt. George McKee, Capt.
and sacrifice, he was the
Samuel Sanders and Capt. Leroy Roberts,
first pilot in Korea to be
a former member of the Tuskegee Airmen.
awarded the Congressional
Medal of Honor.
A Fighter Once More
Although the Mustang was used primarily as
a mud mover, it could, of course, handle any
piston engine aircraft that the enemy possessed. For example, on August 3, 1950, two 67th
FBS pilots shot down (one each) North Korean
Yaks, and the unit got another a week later.
On November 1, 1950 pilots from the 67th
FBS/18th FBW two North Korean Yaks south of
Sinuij. That day, though, something more significant transpired. A six ship formation of F-51s
escorted Invaders attacking the airfield at Sinuiju (K-30). They encountered six jet powered
aircraft with swept wings. This gave the Mustang the honor of being the first to go into combat against the Soviet MiG-15, probably from
the 28th GIAP/151st GIAD. The pilots flying the
Mustangs managed to come through without
a loss, but this was the day the allies lost complete air superiority over the Korean peninsula.
The next such encounter occurred November 7,
when a quartet of the 36th FBS was bounced by
a like number of MiGs, whose pilots apparently anticipated an easy time of it. However, the
experienced F-51 pilots were able to maneuver
the MiGs into a position where Captain Howard
Tanner damaged one. Hits were administered to
another pair of MiGs sporting Chinese markings
and these chose to break off the engagement.
In contrast, the Mustangs returned to base without a scratch! In a bit of an ironic twist, eleven 8th FBG Mustangs were damaged beyond
repair as the result of a night raid on the base
at Pchjongjang by Po-2 biplanes on the night of
South African Mustangs tangled with MiG-15s
on March 20, 1952, they failed to repeat their
earlier no-loss result. During an attack on
a rail line between Guangdong and Sunjong,
they were attacked by six MiG-15s. Lt. Dave
Taylor, flying an F-51, disengaged from the
battle after being hit and was not seen again.
Lt. Henslin, however, was credited with one MiG
“I won’t make it back. I will return, and
I’ll get those bastards!”
Major Louis Joseph “Lou” Sebille
South African pilots of No. 112 Squadron also
had “the pleasure” of encountering the MiG-15s.
On July 8, 1951, the “Flying Cheetahs” were ambushed by twenty Chinese aircraft. Thanks to
some wild maneuvering at low level, they were
able to hold on until the Sabre cavalry arrived
to save the day. Among them was an aircraft piloted by Francis Gabreski, who on this occasion
got his first kill of the Korean War and added
to his 28 total tally from World War Two. When
damaged. There were several similar engagements, of course, but there were no cases that
an F-51 could be without a doubt credited with
a MiG-15 kill.
The fighting morale on the part of the Mustang
pilots is evidenced in the death of 67th FBS Commanding Officer Major Louis J. Sebille, who’s
Mustang (44-74394) was hit several times in an
attack on an artillery position on August 5, 1950.
To top it off, one of his bombs failed to release.