KITS 08/2023

F-104C-5-LO, 56-0891, Maj. Charles H. Drisko, 435th TFS, 479th TFW, Udorn RTAFB, Thailand, 1967

F-104 serial number 56-0891 arrived in Udorn,

Thailand, in January 1967. In the following months

it was a personal mount of Major Herb Drisko,

who had the ground personnel paint on the port

side a cartoon of Snoopy wearing brown leather

jacket and yellow scarf flying on the 20mm Vulcan

Gatling Gun with its barels blasting. Under Snoopy

there was an inscription “SNOOPY SNIPER“. The

airplane’s starboard was decorated with Herb’s

wife name Nancy J. After the operations were

over, in June 1967 F-104 was flown over to the

USA, to Muniz AFB in Puerto Rico. Charles Herbert

Drisko, called Herb by his friends, was borne on

October 26, 1928, in Bartlesville, OK and after

he graduated from the high school, during the

period after the war, he worked in the oil fields in

Wyoming. In July 1951 he joined the Air Force and

after completing the training and receiving his

officer‘s commission he served in the Korean War

as a radar operator on F-89 out of Okinawa. After

that he completed his pilot training and during

the Vietnam war flew F-104. He left the Air Force

in 1971 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Herb

Drisko passed away on October 26, 2000.

F-104C-5-LO, 56-0891, Col. George Laven Jr., 479th TFW, George AFB, California,

United States, 1959

“SNOOPY SNIPER“ history was very colorful. The

aircraft serial number 56-0891 was received on

October 15, 1958 as the first C-version airframe

at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, Nevada. The aircraft

was christened Really George as its home base

was supposed to be 479th TFW at George AFB,

California. The aircraft was assigned to the

commander, Col. George Laven Jr., who was

a WWII ace credited with five kills. Same as his

previous personal aircraft. Laven’s new F-104

sported rather gaudy coloration which gradually

developed to the point that the superior officers

August 2023

ordered its removal as it was deemed too wild.

It was followed by the more moderate blue coat

with four stripes representing colors of all four

479th TFW squadrons. George Laven Jr. was

a self-confident Texan known for his daring

style of flying. He joined the USAAF in the end of

December 1940 and completed his pilot training

in August 1941. He gained his fame during his

service with 343rd FG flying P-38s and 54th FG

in Alaska where he guided P-39s. During this

period he scored four aerial victories and he

destroyed almost two dozens of locomotives in

Europe. In March 1945 he was assigned to the

49th FG Headquarters but regardless he flew

combat as much as possible and on April 26,

1945 he shot down H8K2 as his fifth kill. After the

war he continued in the service. At George AFB

he commanded several groups and wings. In the

end of 1950s he was in the command of the 479th

TFW. He retired as a veteran of three wars and in

1969 he became a McDonnell Douglas consultant

in Israel. He continued flying F-4 Phantom II and

F-15 Eagle.

INFO Eduard