It's a Big Day Today
Yep, today's the 11th of February, which makes this the third anniversary of the electronic version of Replica in Scale. Three years---think of that!
When we started this project we had no idea how long it would run or where it would take us, or if anybody would even bother to look at it. Now, here we are, popular enough that we've seen well over 400,000 visits over the course of those three years, and have had our photography stolen en masse by the readers of and contributors toYahoo user groups, on-line modeling magazines, and other people's vanity sites. In short, we've arrived!
So where are we going next? Well, we're going to begin some evolutionary changes, for starts. Those changes will be small and will take a while to implement, but at the end of it all we think you'll see a better product on these pages. We also hope to actually stay on some sort of schedule again; we were weekly for a while but nowadays we publish whenever we can. That probably bothers you, and we know it bothers us! We'll try to do better from now on!
Next comes the fun part, which is saying thanks to all those folks who have contributed to this site, either directly by submitting material, or indirectly via comments we've received and posted on The Relief Tube. There are too many of you to mention specifically by name, but we're grateful to each and every one of you and want to make certain you know that. For those contributors among you who have wandered away over the past eighteen months or so, we'd love to have you back! You know who we are, and that e-mail address is still email@example.com . Don't be a stranger!
Finally, we're always looking for photography, anecdotal material, and the like. If you'd like to contribute the address is the same: firstname.lastname@example.org . You probably won't get famous, and you definitely won't get rich since this is a blog rather than a money-making proposition of any sort, but those contributions all help flesh out the rich tapestry of aviation history, which is the whole reason this site exists. Come join us!
Give Us a Big Old Smile, Won'tcha?
The 82nd TRS was a relative newcomer to the Army Air Forces, having been originally constituted as the 82nd Observation Squadron on 1 June, 1937. The squadron went through several designation changes (to the 82nd Observation Squadron, Medium, in January of 1942 and the 82nd Observation Squadron in July of 1942, the 82nd Reconnaissance Squadron (Fighter) in April of 1943) before finally evolving into the 82nd TRS on 10 May, 1944. The unit was a member of several USAAF organizations over the course of its history but, for the purposes of our narrative, was attached to the 71st TRG (35th FG) beginning 29 March 1942. World War Two stations included Milne Bay, Dobodura, Finschhafen,and Saidor in New Guinea, as well as Biak, Owi, the Schouten Islands, Morotai, then, finally, the Philippines.
The group's wartime aircraft (the ones we're interested in) consisted of just three major types; the P-39Q, P-40N, and F-6D/F-6K. Active throughout the latter half of the war in the Pacific, the 82nd was ultimately awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
82nd TRS Mustangs could be easily identified by their yellow and black trim (the 110th TRS, the other squadron in the 71st TRG, used white and black) and their tail numbers, which ran from 40 up through the low 70s by the end of the war. (There were two other squadrons flying with the 71st as well; the 17th RS flying B-25s, and the 25th Liaison Squadron flying Stinson L-5s. Those squadrons will be discussed another day; we're sticking to the fighter types here.)
The 82nd was a key component of the Allied victory in the Pacific, but a great many enthusiasts are barely aware of the group's existence, even though most scale modelers have at least a passing acquaintance with Shomo's "Flying Undertaker", thanks in large part to extensive coverage of the post-mission repainted iteration of the aircraft originally made popular by an article in Scale Modeler magazine way back in the late 1960s. Thanks once again to the always amazing collection of Bobby Rocker, we'd like to offer a few images for your consideration today.
Those of you who have ever dealt with American military flight manuals are familiar with the phenomena known as "This Page Intentionally Blank". We've always thought that to be a moderately silly thing for them to do, but we're going to use that ploy today ourselves---this is the part where we ought to show you a P-40 or two from the 82nd, but we've searched everywhere and we just don't have one in the collection. The 110th TRS; yes. The 82nd; no. Another day, maybe...
email@example.com , ya'll! Rocker Collection
That's it for today's photo essay on the 82nd TRS, except for the fact that we've torn the place up and can't find one single photo for any of the squadron's P-40Ns. Not one! We did manage to find several 110th TRS birds, a couple of which we've already published, but nothing for the 82nd. Anybody out there got any photos?!
Which One Do You Like Best?
Last issue we showed you a shot depicting our efforts to put nose art on a real TB-26, which prompted Jim Wogstad to dig into his archives and send in another couple of shots that illustrate the multiple lives of "Frantic Fraye".
Somewhere in our files, in a shoebox full of thoroughly unsorted slides, are the in-process photos of the entire process from layout to finished product. It was an interesting evolution and it's our intention to publish those photos too, just as soon as we can find them. After that we'll draw down the curtain on the saga of "Frantic Fraye/A'eros". Consider this to be fair warning that there's a third installment yet to come!
Let's Raise a Glass...
We talk a lot about the air war in the Southwest Pacific, but simple words can't express the way it was to those old, young men in the cockpits and gun turrets. The two shortcuts below will take you to a couple of sections of an old Fifth AF film about one of the earliest attacks on Rabaul. They're well worth the watching and are provided courtesy Gerry Kersey of 3rd Attack.Org.
Those little squiggly white lines you'll see in the footage from time to time are tracer from Japanese machine guns. There were no easy days in the SWPAC---let's raise a glass...
A New Link
If you'll take the time to take a look at the links on this page (say that three times fast, by Jingo!), you'll find a new one; Rick Morgan Books. Yep; it's the same Rick Morgan that's contributed a whole bunch of the spiffy NAV photography you find on these pages, and we strongly suspect he'll be featuring more of it on his own site sooner or later. The site is in its initial stages but we strongly recommend it for what we suspect is to come. If you happen to be a fan of US NAVAIR you'll want to visit the site often. That's our story and we're sticking with it.
Jim and I began the Replica project in those faraway days before personal computers so we did everything manually back then, which meant that our photo contributors loaned material to us, either negative, print, or slide, and we took it from there. Negs were easy to deal with since Jim had an extremely well-equipped darkroom, and slides were taken care of by virtue of a visit to the Late Lamented Eastman Kodak facility in Dallas, but we had to copy the prints the old-fashioned way, with a copy stand and a camera equipped with a macro lens. What you're about to see is a handful of F-100s that we copied. There are two common threads to be found there; one is the airplane. Let's see if you can figure out the other one...
How About a Tribute, Ya'll?
I've been doing some thinking of late; that's a bit of a stretch, I know, but I have been. This is ostensibly a modeling publication, but we don't run many photos of models in it and most of what we run to date has been built by me. That's a premise of sorts.
Here's another premise to consider: Dave Menard was pretty much Mister F-100. His knowledge regarding Things USAF was both amazing and encyclopedic, but at the end of the day he loved the "Hun". It was his baby, his favorite.
Since we've got some premises, it's time to work up a conclusion to go with them. A large percentage of our readership are modelers, and I'm guessing the chances of at least a few of those modelers (that would be you we're talking about!) have an F-100 or two built up and sitting in their collections, so let's publish them here! How about it, ya'll? Are you up for a tribute? Think about it; almost every scale modeler on this planet who's ever looked at a book or magazine about the Silver Air Force has seen and enjoyed photography from Dave Menard's collection. It's time for a little payback. It's time for a tribute.
If you're game, just photograph your favorite F-100 model, any scale, any nationality, any time period, and send it to this site at firstname.lastname@example.org . (We get a fair amount of spam around here, just like everybody else does, so please put "F-100" someplace in your subject line so we don't inadvertently dump your entry!) JPEG images are preferred but we can use others, although our blog software doesn't much care for TIF images so you might want to shine those right on by. You might want to make the images somewhat less than enormous too---it's a bandwidth thing, donchaknow?
Now for the hard part. Don't just think about doing it. Don't sit there all covered up in good intentions. Send a photo, preferably just one or two. Do it. Do it now! OK? OK!!!
The Relief Tube
MENARD, David Walter died on Feb. 5, 2013, in Dayton Ohio where he lived since 1977. He was born in Elmhurst Ill on May 5, 1936, moved to Lombard Ill in 1945 where he graduated from Glenbard High in 1954, followed by a year of study at the U of Illinois at Navy Pier. He followed his boyhood dream and joined the Air Force in 1955 where he served as a maintainer of aircraft in Africa, four countries in Europe, Greenland, and five Asian countries, in addition to six stateside postings. After retiring as a master sergeant in 1977, he immediately continued his work on aircraft at the Air Force museum at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, later serving as an historian due to his encyclopedic knowledge of aviation history. Retiring from that in 1999, he began following his other passion, care of children, by volunteering at the Dayton children's Hospital, amassing 32,000 hours, the equivalent of working 16 years at forty hours a week fifty weeks a year!!! Meanwhile he developed a passion for Irish step dancing, viewing River Dance over sixty times and supporting several Irish dance troupes. He lived his life in service to his country....and children in general. He leaves a brother Mike (Marita) from Madison Wisc., four nieces and nephews and five grand nephews. His other brother Herbert James preceded him in death just two months ago. A memorial service will be held on Monday, Feb. 11 at 7 PM at the Taggert auditorium at Dayton's Children's Hospital, One Children's Plaza 45404, to which donations can be made in lieu of flowers.
Published in Dayton Daily News from February 7 to February 9, 2013
Rest in peace, Dave.
Be good to your neighbor until we meet again.