During the Korean War, three USAF bomb wings flew the venerable Douglas B-26 Invader light attack bomber in combat. They were used mainly as night intruders to hunt North Korean and Chinese vehicle convoys or trains, though in one case B-26 pilot Dick Heyman downed a PO-2 biplane, scoring one of the most unusual aerial kills of the war. They were rugged, fast, maneuverable and carried tremendous firepower, making them better suited for low altitude ground attack work than any other USAF aircraft employed during the war.
A veteran crew from the 452nd Bomb Wing, which was a California-based reserve unit stationed around Long Beach. When they were mobilized for the Korean War, the unit flew its B-26’s all the way across the Pacific Ocean into the battle theater.
A pair of Southern Californians in Korea. At right is T/Sgt Thomas Snyder of Glendale, CA. He was the crew chief for this particular B-26 and had flown over 20 night combat missions in it by the summer of 1951. His pilot, at left, was 1st Lt. Joe D. Winn, a native of Los Angeles. Winn had racked up 62 combat missions when this photo was taken in August 1951. Both men and the aircraft belonged to the 3rd Bomb Wing. Once known as the 3rd Attack Group during WWII, the 3rd had played a pioneering role in the development of low altitude attack aviation during the 1930’s and 40’s.
Left to Right: Major Vernon Todd, 1st Lt. Herbert Covell, 2nd Lt. Eugene McIntire, and Airman 1st Class Arthur Andrzejewski. This crew, with Covell piloting their B-26 named after his wife, destroyed or damaged 18 locomotives and almost a hundred box cars in less than five weeks of combat operations with the 3rd Bomb Wing in December 1952 and January 1953.
A 3rd Bomb Wing B-26 en route to target, October 1952.
A 17th Bomb Wing B-26 returns after dawn following a night intruder mission in June 1953. The 17th had been a Martin B-26 Marauder-equipped bomb group that saw combat in North Africa and the MTO during World War II.