26 November 1968

The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR to

CAPTAIN

JAMES PHILLIP FLEMING

AIR FORCE

Rank: Captain
Organization: U.S. Air Force
Division: 20th Special Operations Squadron
Born: 12 March 1943, Sedalia, Mo.
Entered Service At: Pullman, Wash.
Place / Date: Near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam, 26 November 1968

For service as set forth in the following:

CITATION:

Captain James P. Fleming, U.S. Air Force

“For The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Captain [then First Lieutenant] James Phillip Fleming, United States Air Force, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with the 20th Special Operations Squadron, 14th Special Operations Wing, in action near Duc Co, Republic of Vietnam, on 26 November 1968. Captain Fleming distinguished himself as the Aircraft Commander of a UH-1F transport Helicopter. Captain Fleming went to the aid of a six-man special forces long range reconnaissance patrol that was in danger of being overrun by a large, heavily armed hostile force. Despite the knowledge that one helicopter had been downed by intense hostile fire, Captain Fleming descended, and balanced his helicopter on a river bank with the tail boom hanging over open water. The patrol could not penetrate to the landing site and he was forced to withdraw. Dangerously low on fuel, Captain Fleming repeated his original landing maneuver. Disregarding his own safety, he remained in this exposed position. Hostile fire crashed through his windscreen as the patrol boarded his helicopter. Captain Fleming made a successful takeoff through a barrage of hostile fire and recovered safely at a forward base. Captain Fleming’s profound concern for his fellowmen, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.”

1st Lieutenant James P. Fleming, U.S. Air Force, 1968. (Gallery of History, Inc.)
1st Lieutenant James P. Fleming, U.S. Air Force, 1968. (Gallery of History, Inc.)

For a more detailed narrative, see:

http://209.157.64.201/focus/f-vetscor/1151631/replies?c=1

Colonel James P. Fleming’s other decorations include the Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and eight Air Medals. He retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1996 after thirty years of service.

The UH-1F was originally tasked with supporting Stratgic Air Command missile bases. (U.S. Air Force)
The UH-1F was originally tasked with supporting Strategic Air Command ICBM missile bases. This helicopter, 66-1235, c/n 7311, was sent to The Boneyard at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona, in 1977. It was later registered as a restricted civil aircraft, VH-LIP, used for aerial firefighting by McDermott Aviation, Queensland, Australia,  (U.S. Air Force)

The Bell UH-1F Iroquois (best known as the “Huey”) was was unique to the U.S. Air Force and was initially intended for missile base support. It used the airframe of the UH-1B (Bell Model 204), combined with the 48-foot-diameter main rotor system, transmission and longer tail boom of the UH-1D (Model 205). The Air Force required that it be re-engined to use the General Electric T58-GE-3 turboshaft engine. This was the same engine used in the Sikorsky HH-3E and commonality was desirable, but the T58 was also much more powerful than the Lycoming T53 engine in the standard configuration UH-1B and UH-1D. The use of the T58 gave the UH-1F/P the distinctive side exhaust exit that identifies it from other Huey variants.

Two U.S. Air Force UH-1P Hueys of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, the "Green Hornets". (U.S. Air Force)
Two U.S. Air Force UH-1P Hueys of the 20th Special Operations Squadron, the “Green Hornets.” 65-7929 is closer to camera. The second Huey is 63-13162. Both helicopters are armed with two door-mounted M93 7.65 mm “miniguns” systems: electrically-driven M134 rotary machine guns capable of a 4,000 round-per-minute rate of fire. On each side of 7929 are 7-tube rocket launchers for 2.75-inch (70 mm) FFAR rockets. (U.S. Air Force)

119 UH-1Fs were built by the Bell Helicopter Co., Fort Worth, Texas. A single-engine, medium-lift helicopter, it is configured to be operated by a pilot and co-pilot and can carry 10 passengers. The first aircraft, originally designated XH-48, s/n 63-13141, made its first flight 20 February 1964. The first production UH-1F was delivered to the Air Force 23 September 1964. Twenty UH-1Fs were modified to UH-1P as special operations helicopters.

The fuselage of the UH-1F/UH-1P is 44 feet, 7 inches (13.589 meters) long. With blades turning, the overall length of the helicopter is 57 feet, 1 inch (17.399 meters), and it is 14 feet, 11 inches (4.547 meters) high. The main rotor has a diameter of 48 feet, 0 inches (14.630 meters) and turns counter-clockwise as seen from above. (The advancing blade is on the right.) The tail rotor has a diameter of 8 feet, 6 inches (2.591 meters) and is mounted on the left side of the tail boom in a pusher configuration. It turns counter-clockwise as seen from the helicopter’s left. (The advancing blade is above the tail rotor’s axis of rotation.)

The UH-1F has an empty weight of 4,403 pounds (1,997.2 kilograms), and its maximum gross weight is 9,000 pounds (4,082.3 kilograms). The General Electric T58-GE-3 turboshaft engine is rated at 1,325 shaft horsepower. The UH-1F/P has a maximum speed of  138 miles per hour (222 kilometers per hour), with a normal cruise speed of 123 miles per hour (198 kilometers per hour). It can lift a 4,000 pound (1,814 kilogram) payload. The helicopter has a service ceiling of 24,830 feet (7,568 meters), can hover out of ground effect (OGE) at 15,700 feet (4,785 meters) and in ground effect (IGE) at 18,700 feet (5,700 meters). With maximum fuel, its range is 392 miles (631 kilometers).

UH-1F and UN-1P helicopters remained in service with the Air Force until the early 1980s when their mission was taken over by the twin-engine UH-1N (Bell Model 212).

Bell Helicopter Corp. UH-1P Iroquois (converted from UH-1F-BF) serial number 64-15476, marked as 1LT James Fleming’s UH-1P, 64-15492, which he was flying during the action of 26 November 1966. The actual 64-15492 was shot down 13 February 1969. This helicopter is in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force)
Bell Helicopter Corp. UH-1P Iroquois (converted from UH-1F-BF) serial number 64-15476, marked as 1LT James Fleming’s UH-1F, 64-15492, which he was flying during the action of 26 November 1968. The “Green Hornet” of the 20th Special Operations Squadron is painted on the helicopter’s tail boom. The actual 64-15492 was shot down 13 February 1969. This helicopter is in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes.

26 November 1943

LCDR William H. ("Butch") O'Hare, United States Navy
LCDR Edward H. (“Butch”) O’Hare, United States Navy, ca. April-May 1942. (U.S. Navy)

26 November 1943: At sunset, Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry O’Hare, United States Navy, Commander Air Group 6, took of from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6) as part of an experimental three-plane night fighter team. Two Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters of VF-2, piloted by O’Hara and Ensign Andy Skon, flew formation with a radar-equipped Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bomber, call sign “Tare 97,” flown by Lieutenant Commander Phil Phillips. O’Hara was flying his personal airplane, Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat Bu. No. 66168, marked with “00” on the sides of its fuselage, the traditional identification of an air group commander’s (“CAG”) airplane.

The Avenger’s radar operator would guide the two fighters to intercept the groups of Japanese Mitsubishi G4M “Betty” torpedo bombers that had been making nightly attacks against the ships of Task Force 50.2. The U.S. Navy task force was operating in the waters northeast of Tarawa, supporting Operation Galvanic.

Two Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters, Summer 1943.(U.S. Navy)
Two Grumman F6F-3 Hellcat fighters, summer 1943. (U.S. Navy)

The night fighter team engaged several enemy bombers with the TBF’s pilot Phillips, credited with shooting down two G4Ms with his forward-firing .50-caliber machine guns. Butch O’Hare and Andy Skon, both fired on other enemy bombers with their Hellcats’ six machine guns.

At about 7:30 p.m., the TBF was flying below at about 1,200 feet (365 meters), staying below the cloud bases, while the two F6Fs rejoined the formation. The TBF’s gunner, Al Kernan, saw both Hellcats with O’Hara approaching to join the the Avenger’s right wing. When O’Hara was about 400 feet (120 meters) away, the gunner saw a third airplane appear above and behind the two fighters. The Japanese G4M opened fire on O’Hara’s fighter with it’s 7.7 mm nose-mounted machine gun. Kernan returned fire with the TBF’s turret-mounted .50-caliber machine gun. The G4M quickly disappeared in the darkness.

A pair of Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. )U.S. Navy)
A pair of Grumman TBF Avenger torpedo bombers. (U.S. Navy)

Butch O’Hara’s F6F was seen to turn out of the formation, passing to the left underneath Skon’s fighter. Skon called O’Hara by radio but there was no response. The CAG’s Hellcat went into a dive then disappeared in the darkness. Skon tried to follow O’Hara, but had to pull out at about 300 feet (90 meters) to avoid crashing into the ocean. Neither O’Hara or his airplane were ever seen again. He is believed to have gone into the water at 7:34 p.m., 26 miles (42 kilometers) north-northwest of the carrier Enterprise.

Mitsubishi G4M Type I bomber, called "Betty" by Allied forces.
Mitsubishi G4M Type I bomber, called “Betty” by Allied forces.

Lieutenant Commander Edward H. O’Hare was listed as Missing in Action. One year after his disappearance, the status was officially changed to Killed in Action. One of the best known fighter pilots in the United States Navy, he was a hero to the people of America. He had been awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in combat during the early months of the war, nominated for a second Medal of Honor, and awarded the Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross and Purple Heart.

Lieutenant Edward H. O'Hare, United States Navy, 1942. (LIFE Magazine via Navy Pilot Overseas)
Lieutenant Edward H. O’Hare, United States Navy, 1942. (LIFE Magazine via Navy Pilot Overseas)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

25 November 1940

The first Martin Marauder, B-26-MA 40-1361, takes off for the first time at Middle River, Maryland, 25 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)
The first Martin Marauder, B-26-MA 40-1361, takes off for the first time at Middle River, Maryland, 25 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)

25 November 1940: Glenn L. Martin Company’s test pilot William K. (“Ken”) Ebel, co-pilot Ed Fenimore and flight engineer Al Malewski made the first flight of the first B-26 Marauder, Army Air Corps serial number 40-1361.

The B-26 was a twin-engine medium bomber designed with high speed as a primary objective. Production of the new airplane was considered so urgent that there were no prototypes. All aircraft were production models.

Martin B-26-MA Marauder 40-1361, right profile, with bomb bay doors open. (U.S. Air Force)
Martin B-26-MA Marauder 40-1361, right profile, with bomb bay doors open. (U.S. Air Force)

The Marauder was 56 feet (17.069 meters) long with a wingspan of 65 feet (19.812 meters) and height of 19 feet, 10 inches (6.045 meters). The bomber was powered by two 2,804.5-cubic-inch-displacement (45.97 liter), air-cooled, supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-2800-5 Double Wasp two-row, 18-cylinder radial engines, which produced 1,850 horsepower at 2,600 r.p.m. and 2,700 feet (823 meters). They turned 13 foot, 6 inch (4.115 meter) diameter four-bladed Curtiss Electric propellers. 40-1361 had a maximum speed of 315 miles per hour (507 kilometers per hour) at 15,000 feet (4,572 meters). Its service ceiling was 25,000 feet (7,620 meters).

Martin B-26-MA Marauder 40-1361, the first production airplane, 25 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)
Martin B-26-MA Marauder 40-1361, the first production airplane, 25 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)

When the B-26 entered service, it quickly gained a reputation as a dangerous airplane and was called the “widowmaker.” The airplane had relatively short wings and a small area for its size. This required that landing approaches be flown at much higher speeds than was normal practice. With one engine out, airspeed was even more critical. Some changes were made, such as a slight increase on wingspan and the size of the vertical fin and rudder, and an emphasis on airspeed control during training, made improvements. The Marauder had the lowest rate of combat losses of any American bomber.

Glenn L. Martin Co. produced 5,288 Marauders between 1941–1945. It served in the Pacific, Mediterranean and European combat areas. When it was removed from service at the end of World War II, the “B-26″ designation was reassigned to the Douglas A-26 Invader, a light twin-engine bomber.

The first Martin Marauder, B-26-MA 40-1361, was written off after a belly landing at Patterson Field, Ohio, 8 August 1941.

Martin B-26 40-1361 with engines turning, 28 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)
Martin B-26 40-1361 with engines turning, 28 November 1940. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

25 November 1940

Geoffrey Roal De Havilland, OBE
Geoffrey Roal de Havilland, Jr., OBE, stands next to a DH.98 Mosquito. (Unattributed)

25 November 1940: De Havilland Aircraft Company’s Chief Test Pilot, Geoffrey Roal de Havilland, Jr., made the first flight of the DH.98 Mosquito prototype, E-0234, at Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The multi-role combat aircraft was constructed primarily of layers of balsa covered with layers of birch, then a layer of cotton fabric. It was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12 engines.

It had been predicted to be 20 miles per hour (32 kilometers per hour) faster than the Supermarine Spitfire, but was actually much faster. In testing, the prototype reached 437 miles per hour (703 kilometers per hour). The construction materials took advantage of plentiful supplies of wood, and also made workers who were not in the standard metal aircraft industry to take part.

The prototype DH.98 Mosquito, marked W4050, takes off on its first flight at Hatfield, 25 November 1940. (Royal Air Force)
The prototype DH.98 Mosquito, marked W4050, takes off on its first flight at Hatfield, 25 November 1940. (Royal Air Force)

The prototype had a wingspan of 52 feet, 6 inches (16.002 meters). It was powered by two liquid-cooled, supercharged, Rolls-Royce Merlin Mk.21 engines, producing 1,460 horsepower, each, and driving three-bladed propellers. Its gross weight was 16,000 pounds (7,257.4 kilograms). The top speed was 392 miles per hour (631 kilometers per hour) at 22,000 feet (6,706 meters). This made it the world’s fastest operational airplane at the time.

6,411 DH.98 Mosquitoes were built in England, 1,134 in Canada and 212 in Australia.

The prototype DH.98 Mosquito, W4050, at Hatfield, Hertfordshire. (Royal Air Force)
The prototype DH.98 Mosquito, W4050, at Hatfield, Hertfordshire. (Royal Air Force)

W4050 (the prototype’s Royal Air Force identification) remained at de Havilland and was used to test different engines, armaments and versions. After a series of tests conducted in December 1943, the first Mosquito was permanently grounded. It was used as an instructional airframe and later placed in storage.

In September 1958 W4050 was turned over to the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre. Today, the restored prototype DH.98 Mosquito is at the museum at London Colney, Hertfordshire, England.

The prototype de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, W4050, following restoration at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre. (The Diecast Aviation Website and Forum)
The prototype de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito, W4050, following restoration at the de Havilland Aircraft Heritage Centre. (The Diecast Aviation Website and Forum)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes

25 November 1920

Lieutenant Corliss C. Moseley, United States Army Air Service (1894–1974)
Lieutenant Corliss C. Moseley, United States Army Air Service (1894–1974)

25 November 1920: Lieutenant Corliss C. Mosely, U.S. Army Air Service, won the first Pulitzer Trophy Race flying an Engineering Division-designed-and-built Verville-Packard R-1, serial number A.S. 40126. The race, the first of a series, started at Mitchel Field, Long Island, New York. Turning points were at Henry J. Damm Field, near Babylon, and Lufberry Field at Wantagh. The total length of the race was approximately 132 miles (212 kilometers).

Lieutenant C.C. Moseley with the Wright-Packard R-1 at Mitchell Field, Long Island, New York, 25 November 1920. (U.S. Air Force)

Weather was cold and cloudy, with a threat of snow. The New York Times reported that, With the sun for the most part of the time concealed behind snow clouds, it was possible to watch the contest without suffering eye strain. . . .

Still, more than 25,000 spectators watched the race at Mitchell Field, and several thousand more at each of the turns.

The race began at 11:30 a.m. The 34 entrants took off at intervals for spacing. They would race against the timer’s clock. The first to take off was Captain Harold E. Hartney, U.S. Army Air Service, flying a Thomas-Morse biplane.

Verville-Packard R-1, serial number A.S. 40126. (Wiggins-Fitz Collection)
Verville-Packard R-1, serial number A.S. 40126. (Wiggins-Fitz Collection)

Again, from the New York Times:

The interest to the spectators seemed to centre in the much heralded Verville-Packard, which has been undergoing secret tests. . . This machine was the last to start. A cheer went up as the dark gray machine with lightning-like speed mounted into the air, its course being marked by a stream of smoke several hundred feet in length. For a few moments it was lost in the haze and then the powerful craft swooped again into view, crossed over the starting line headed for the Henry J. Damm Field.”

Of the 34 airplanes to start, 11 dropped out from mechanical trouble and 1 was disqualified.

Colonel Harold E. Hartney, USAAS (U.S. War Department General Staff)

Lt. Moseley’s airplane covered the first lap in eleven minutes six and seventy one hundredths seconds.”  The Verville-Packard R-1 won the race with an elapsed time of 44 minutes, 29.57 seconds, for an average speed of 178 miles per  hour. Captain Hartney finished second  with an elapsed time of 47:00.03.

The 1920 Pulitzer Trophy won by C.C. Moseley. (Bonham’s)

The Chicago Daily Tribune wrote: At last the pride of the Army air service, the Verville-Packard chasse biplane, has established its worth by romping ahead of thirty-four starters in the first Pulitzer trophy aeronautical race, held Thanksgiving day at Mitchel field, Mineola. . . Never in the history of official flying in America has a man traveled with such great velocity. . . .”

Corliss C. Moseley rose to the rank of major. In 1924, he was assigned as the first commanding officer of the 115th Observation Squadron based at Clover Field, Santa Monica, California. This was the first aviation unit of the California National Guard. Mosely left the military and in 1925, he founded Western Air Express at Los Angeles, which would become Western Airlines.

The Verville-Packard R-1 was developed from an experimental fighter, the Verville-Clark Pursuit (VCP-1), designed for the Army by Alfred Victor Verville, and was the first racing airplane built for the U.S. Army. A single-place, single-engine biplane, it had a plywood monocoque fuselage with wood wings covered with fabric. The R-1 was 32 feet (9.75 meters) long. (Other dimensions are unknown at this time.)

In the original configuration, the VCP-1 was powered by a liquid-cooled Wright Hispano-Suiza V-8 engine producing 300 horsepower. The R-1 Racer substituted a Packard Motor Car Company 1A-2025 engine. The 1A-2025 was a 2,025.44-cubic-inch-displacement (33.177 liter) liquid-cooled, 60° single overhead cam (SOHC) V-12 engine with four valves per cylinder. The engine was rated at 540 brake horsepower (b.h.p.) at 1,800 r.p.m. at Sea Level, 379 horsepower at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) and 299 horsepower at 15,000 feet (4572 meters). The total dry weight of the 1A-2025 was 1,142 pounds (518 kilograms).

Two VCP-1 airplanes were built but the second, A.S. 40127, never flew.

This is the engine from Lt. Moseley's airplane. It is a Packard 1A-2025 60° SOHC V-12, serial number 10. It is in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force)
This is the engine from Lt. Moseley’s airplane. This is a Packard 1A-2025 60° SOHC V-12, serial number 10. It is in the collection of the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force)

© 2014, Bryan R. Swopes