ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE

426 "THUNDERBIRD" SQUADRON


A North Star of 426 "Thunderbird" Squadron
Courtesy 426 "Thunderbird" Squadron Association
"Thunderbirds" over the Peace Tower in Ottawa

 

Operation Hawk  

War broke out on the Korean Peninsula on 25 June 1950. Approximately one month later it was confirmed that "Thunderbirds" would deploy to McChord Air Force Base near Tacoma, Washington. From there they would operate as a unit of the USAF Military Air Transport System (MATS). Six aircraft with twelve crews and 180 support personnel on board left Dorval Airport in formation over Montreal, then over the Peace Tower in Ottawa, where the body of The Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon W. L. MacKenzie King was lying in state. After over flying to Toronto, the Squadron broke formation and the aircraft proceeded individually to McChord arriving early on 26 July. The operational plan called for one departure every morning; aircraft would be flown at 150 hours and aircrew at 110 hours per month. Three aircraft departed McChord on 27 July with slip crews and servicing personnel to set up the North Pacific route through Anchorage and Shemya to Haneda AFB at Tokyo. The round trip was 10,000 miles, the flying time was in the order of 50 hours depending of course on the weather conditions and enroute winds. Flying operations involved long crew days and particularly challenging weather conditions at the terminals along the Aleutian chain of islands where high winds and low clouds or fog were the norm. Many aircrew flew in excess of the planned rate of 110 hours per month and on occasion some individuals exceeded the 200 hour mark.

The statistics for the Squadron on the Korean airlift are impressive. In just under four years, 599 round trips were made to the Far East. This entailed a total of 34,000 flying hours without loss of cargo or a single passenger. No one was injured on flight operations which was a miracle when one considers the numerous incidents and "near misses".

Courtesy - Ed Grose, Secretary, 426 "Thunderbird" Squadron Association

Twenty-two RCAF fighter pilots and a number of technical officers served with the US Fifth Air Force. The Canadians were credited with 20 enemy jet fighters destroyed or damaged, as well as the destruction of several enemy trains and trucks.

 

Canadian Korean War Fighter Pilots

 

RCAF PILOTS SERVING IN KOREA IN ORDER OF POSTING TO

U.S. FIFTH AIR FORCE

Name
From
To
USAF
1
Sqn

 

Remarks

F/L J.A.O Levesque
1/12/50
1/6/51
334

Destroyed one MiG on 31/3/51

Awarded US Air Medal & US DFC

F/O S.B. Fleming
10/3/52
12/6/52
336

Awarded US DFC

F/O W.G. Nixon
10/3/52
19/7/52
16 & 25

Awarded US Air Medal

F/O J.D. Donald
1/4/52
5/5/52
-

Posted home before being combat-ready

F/L L. E. Spurr
10/4/52
29/7/52
25

Destroyed one MiG

Awarded US DFC

F/O J.C.A. LaFrance
15/5/52
26/9/52
16 & 39

Destroyed one MiG on 5 /08/ 52

Awarded US DFC

G/C E.B. Hale
22/4/52
28/5/52
16

Awarded US DFC

F/O E.A. Glover
15/6/52
18/10/52
334

Destroyed three MiGs and damaged two.

Awarded Commonwealth DFC and US DFC

S/L J.D. Lindsay
15/7/52
6/12/52
39

Destroyed two and damaged three MiGs.

Awarded US DFC

F/L R.E. Lowry
15/7/52
27/11/52
25

Awarded US Air Medal

S/L E.G. Smith
15/8/52
11/12/52
334

Awarded US Air Medal

W/C R.T.P. Davidson

15/9/52
7/12/52
335
Awarded US Air Medal
F/O A. Lambros
14/10/52
10/3/53
39

Damaged two MiGs.

Awarded US Air Medal

S/L A.R. MacKenzie
15/11/52
5/12/54
39
Accidentally shot down 5/12/52 on 5th mission. Released as a POW in 1954
F/L F.W. Evans
15/12/52
11/4/53
334

Awarded US Air Medal

F/L G.H. Nichols
15/1/53
9/5/53
16

One probable

Awarded US Air Medal

F/O R.D. Carew
14/2/53
5/7/73
335

Awarded US Air Medal

S/L J. MacKay
15/3/53
15/7/53
39

Destroyed one MiG 30/6/53

Awarded US Air Medal

F/L W.H.F. Bliss
14/4/53
17/7/53
334

Awarded US Air Medal

S/L W.W. Fox
15/5/53
31/10/53
16

Awarded US Air Medal

F/O J.B. Mullin
15/6/53
25/11/53
335

Arrived too late to see combat

S/L D. Warren
15/7/53
02/12/53
39

Arrived too late to see combat

 


1
 

The 334th, 335th and 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadrons (FIS) were part of the USAF 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing (FIW) and the 16th, 25th and 39th FIS were part of the USAF 51st FIW.

 

 



 

Back to Cdn Forces in Korea

HOME

NAVY

ARMY


Our Organization ] Regions & Units ] Heritage Unit ] Honours & Awards - KVA ] Wall of Remembrance ] Bursary ] Photo Gallery ] Honour Roll ] The Last Post ] Canadian Forces in Korea ] Awards - Korea ] UN Forces - Korea ] Korea Battle Maps ] Book Page ] Guest Book ] Links ]