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Past Issues

Volume 12, Number 2 - 2nd Quarter 2014

LOGBOOK is a quarterly magazine covering the entire spectrum of international aviation history, from the first tentative attempts at flight, to history that was made just yesterday.

LOGBOOK is a distinctive publication in the field of aviation history. At LOGBOOK we certainly enjoy bringing you in-depth articles written by some of the world’s premier aviation historians. More importantly, however, we also enjoy working with, actively encouraging and publishing the first-time, one-time and fledgling author. These are the folks who actually lived the aviation history they are writing about, which lets the reader experience the action from a unique perspective. This allows LOGBOOK to bring you aviation history you will find no other place.

Back Issue: Available
 

Sabre Dogs and One-Oh-Wonders

A file photo of a pair of McDonnell F-101 Voodoo interceptors. Photo: USAF A file photo of a pair of McDonnell F-101 Voodoo interceptors. Photo: USAF
The 444th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) was activated at Charleston Air Force Base (AFB), South Carolina, on 16 February 1954. At the time Charleston AFB was a joint use airfield, sharing the facilities with the Charleston Municipal Airport. The 444th can trace its linage back to the 444th Fighter Squadron (FS), which was constituted on 19 February 1943, and activated a few days later on 1 March. Assigned to the 328th Fighter Group (FG), the 444th FS was tasked with local air defense and operational training, and was based at various airfields located within the state of California, beginning with Hamilton Field, then Tonapah Army Airfield (June 1943), Concord Army Airfield (September 1943), and finally Santa Rosa Army Airfield (December 1943). The squadron flew both the Bell P-39 Aircobra and the Bell P-63 King Cobra. Having served all of its wartime duty stateside, the 444th FS was disbanded on 31 March 1944.
The 444th was reconstituted and redesignated as an FIS on 23 March 1953. Upon activation as noted above, and under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Leonard Schultz, the squadron was assigned to the 35th Air Division (Defense), which at the time was headquartered at Dobbins AFB, Georgia. The 35th Air Division itself was assigned to the Eastern Air Defense Force (EADF), headquartered at Stewart AFB, New York. The EADF, along with the Central Air Defense Force and the Western Air Defense Force, made up the Air Defense Command (ADC). Somewhat out of the ordinary was the fact that the 444th FIS was never assigned to a traditional Fighter Group or Fighter Wing, but simply to a parent Air Division. The squadron’s initial cadre was eight officers and 131 airmen.
Flying the North American F-86 Sabre, and later the McDonnell F-101 Voodoo, the 444th was but one of the many ADC squadron standing 24-hour alert during some of the hottest time of the Cold War.
David R Mclaren chronicles their adventures.
 

The 64 Days of Victor Chapman

Victor Chapman stands on the far right. Photo: Herb Kugel Victor Chapman stands on the far right. Photo: Herb Kugel
When World War One began in August 1914, many young Americans rallied to the Allied cause even though America was not in the war at that time. Some were idealists, some were crusaders, some were adventurers and some were just misfits. Others, like Victor Chapman, were combinations of all the above. Some volunteered as ambulance drivers, while others fought in the trenches. Many of the idealists were well-educated men from wealthy families who went to fight because they feared that “democracy was being strangled to death” by the German “Hun.” For example, just days before the U.S. formally entered the war on 6 April 1917, 553 Harvard students and graduates had served or were serving with the Allies in various capacities. Twenty-seven had been killed.
Victor Chapman was a volunteer. He was a large, physically powerful man. Victor was born into a prominent and wealthy Boston family with paternal roots going back to the American Revolution. His great-great-great grandfather, John Jay, was President of the Continental Congress, and later the first Chief Justice of the United States. His grandfather was a powerful stock broker who became president of the New York Stock Exchange. Victor graduated from Harvard in 1913, and with apparently with no well-defined goal in mind began studying architecture in Paris at the Beaux-Arts. When World War One began, Victor, who was then twenty-four years old, volunteered for combat with the French Foreign Legion. He enlisted in September 1914, and arrived in the trenches in December 1914. Shortly after, he was wounded in the right arm by a rifle bullet.
Soon Victor transferred to the French Air Service, and thus began "The 64 Days of Victor Chapman."
Author Herb Kugel tells Victor's story.
 

Graf Zeppelin - Hitler's Aircraft Carrier, Part 2

A Ju 87C - the carrier-based variant of the Stuka - during a catapult launch.  Photo: T. Callawy A Ju 87C - the carrier-based variant of the Stuka - during a catapult launch. Photo: T. Callawy
Officially, Trägergruppe 186 was established at Kiel-Holtenau on 1 November 1938, with Major Walter Hagen as commander. The fighter pilots and their early-model Bf 109 “Bertas” formed 6. Staffel [(Jagd)/186 – 6th Squadron (Fighter)/186 – which will be covered in Part Three of this series] while the dive-bomber crews and Stukas established 4. Staffel (Stuka)/186 [abbreviated 4.(St)/186]. The same day the Graf Zeppelin was launched Göring’s public relations (propaganda) office announced the formation (existence) of its CAG.
In reality, the dive-bomber crews gathered at Köln-Ostheim airfield on that date to begin Stuka training. The crews “had come exclusively from the ranks of the Navy before being transferred to the Luftwaffe,” most of them being former Reichsmarine floatplane pilots and naval observers. Training commenced on the Henschel Hs 123 ground attack aircraft and soon transitioned to old “Antons” (Ju 87 As) – with the pilots learning to fly the large, powerful airplane while the unit’s first pre-production Cesars – Ju 87 Cs – were being built.
Colonel Douglas Dildy USAF (Retired) continues with the second of his four-part series on this little known aircraft carrier, and its assigned air wing. This article covers the dive-bomber portion of the air wing