Douglas A-26 / B-26 Invader
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Anonymous, 01.06.2023 22:53

Sorry to tell ya but there's more locals than your Thinking that know about this plane crash. I'm 54 & all my family grew up on stover mnt.

Scott Soeder, e-mail, 18.03.2023 19:04

My father was also stationed at Mitchel field between 1957 and 1959. His name was Walter Eric Soeder. He was crew chief on B 26's. that towed targets. We have a few pics. From that time. I was born in the base hospital there.

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Daniel Bruce, e-mail, 28.10.2022 03:32


Saw your post on concerning the A-26 crash on Stover Mtn. I grew up a few miles away on Doublehead Gap Rd. I heard of the story from the old-timers and even hiked the mountain once, wondering if I would find any evidence on a rocky outcropping.

I did not. Wondering what information you could provide about the condition of the wreck.

I have since gone on to join the USAF and I have flown C-17s. Currently flying the T-1 at Columbus AFB, MS.

Thanks for your interest in this bit of folklore.

Daniel Bruce

Anonymous, 29.10.2021 18:32

The Douglas A-26 "Invader" was originally developed to succeed the same company's A-20 "Havoc". Although it did not appear until late in WW-II, the A-26 proved highly successful and remained in service during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Note that after WW-II the disignation for this aircraft was altered from "A-26" to "B-26", but that this aircraft should not be confused with the earlier Martin B-26 "Marauder".

Brian wallace, e-mail, 15.06.2021 05:11

Hi Ray, we have a cabin in ellijay and somewhat familiar with Stover mountain and have a good friend that lives on it. Oddly very few locals know this story. Can you email the article you wrote about it? I believe they were on a teai ing mission from Pensacola and got lost? Thank you.
Brian Wallace

Carl Lindberg, e-mail, 27.08.2020 07:16

Michael, our Dads might have flown together both in B-26 school at Langley AFB, VA. and then at a base in South Korea in the 1952-53 time period. If you haven't yet seen your Dad's military personnel information, do order a set of your dad's Air Force personnel records. I have a set of my Dad's records and it has helped me to understand all our military moves while I was growing up (1944-1962). It shows that Dad attended B-26 Invader flight training at at bases in Texas and Virginia before going over to South Korea and flying in the 37th Bomb Sqdn, 17th Bomb Wing. Send me an email and we can work on our Dad's B-26 experiences. I'm retired from Boeing and live up in washington State.

Aaron B. Cassity, e-mail, 02.03.2018 05:16

I went to Biggs 1st Tow in 1951, then went to Perrin on March 2nd 1952. Was put in the right seat ferrying 26`s into Perrin. Crewed and flew at Perrin and at Vance. I`m 85 now but I still remember the wonderful feeling of taking the controls(44-35466 was duel controlled.) Gosh I loved that Aircraft.

Ray Barker, e-mail, 29.06.2017 13:29

I am looking for any relatives of a Lt. Harald W. Gilbert or Cpl. Anthony Simnowski. I located the wreckage of an A26-B in the mountains of Ellijay Georgia and have written an article concerning the crash in the local paper. Please contact me if you know of any relatives related to these two men. The crash happened on Feb. 13th 1945 on Stover Mountain in Gilmer county.

John Ball, e-mail, 02.03.2017 20:29

Calspan Corporation flew two specially modified, experimental B-26s from the mid-1950s until 1981. With computerized hydraulic flight controls added to the right side, they could mimic the handling qualities of other aircraft. In addition to many R&D projects, they were used to train test pilots at the USN & USAF Test Pilot Schools. Every student flew 3 or 4 flights in these aircraft. Many of these pilots went on to become astronauts and other famous test pilots.
I logged 800 hrs in these aircraft from 1978 until 1981 and flew the 10,000th hour on one of them. For planes, expected to last 6 months when built in 1943, certainly surpassed all expectations.
Sadly, in March of 1981, one of them crashed after a wing failure. The other one was placed in a museum at Edwards AFB where it probably remains. They were replaced by a similarly modified Learjet 24.

Bob Kusterer, e-mail, 02.03.2017 17:22

A friend of mine flew a variable stability A-26 for CALSPAN to train test pilots. Hey, John, I hope you see this and leave a comment. Bob

Jonna Smith, e-mail, 29.01.2017 23:06

I forgot to add Dad was in the Texas National Guard, then the 111th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron assigned to the 68th Observational Group. He spent 2 weeks shy of 3 years over seas, from 1942 to 1945.

Jonna Smith, e-mail, 29.01.2017 23:01

My dad was a rear gunner/radio operator on an A-26B/C during the EAME campaigns. Toward the end of WW2, his crew was flying anti-submarine missions out of North Africa. What was most interesting, due to the small crew size, everyone on the crew was cross-trained to fill in for any other position. Dad could fly, navigate, communicate and defend with the turret gun. He was hit by shrapnel at some point.

Due to an accident while off duty, Dad had to go to sick bay. When he returned, his flight had taken off on a mission. They never came back. The weather was poor and the pilot was not skilled at bad-weather flying. The plane crashed into a mountain, killing all three on board.

Dad is gone now, and I'm trying to find more information about this event. However, I don't have any details on the specific plane or the date of the crash. Would like to hear from anyone who might have heard of the crash. Thanks.

Klaatu83, e-mail, 08.01.2017 17:47

Over the years the re-designation of the Invader by the Air Force has led to some confusion over the identity of this aircraft. During WW-II this aircraft was developed as a "ground attack" aircraft to replace the Douglas A-20 "Havoc". Consequently, the Army Air Force designated it "A-26". After the new U.S. Air Force was established in 1947, the "A" for "Attack" designation was dropped, the A-26 became reclassified as a "light bomber" and was re-designated "B-26". There had already been a "B-26", the Army Air Force's well-known Martin B-26 "Marauder" of WW-II. However, that aircraft had been phased out of service by 1947, and the Air Force apparently did not consider there to be any chance of confusing the two types.

Michael topp, e-mail, 19.07.2016 05:59

My father Lee Topp flew a b-26 in Korea probably about 1952 and 1953. He did at least some of his training at Langley Air Force base. If anyone remembers him or has any information about him, especially about what squadron he was in, I'd be grateful.

sage, e-mail, 24.06.2016 08:53

So cool to read about this great plane and the men who flew in it. America at it's very best. God bless you all.

Ted Statler, 22.10.2015 20:53

I first flew a Douglas B-26 at Perrin AFB November 1952. From the went to Langley to pickup a Bombardier and Gunner. Then to Korea K-8 90th Bomb Squadron for 47 missions, most with an engineer and gunner. Was reassigned to the 1st Tow Target Squadron at Biggs AFB in El Paso. Loved that plane and had no desire to get into jets so left USAF when they were upgrading.

Jim Reynolds, 15.04.2015 07:40

Interesting stories and comments here. I currently fly an A-26B for the CAF Invader Squadron in Ft Worth, Tx. Also restoring the last flying K model for Greatest Generation Aircraft in the same hangar. AF64-17679 was its number with the tailcode of "IF" for England AFB, LA from the mid 1960's. As a kid, I missed many a fish bite out on Lake Texoma back in the 50's watching all of the Perrin AFB T-33's and F-86's in the pattern. I don't remember the A-26 that trained there back in '52 and '53, but I have made up for lost time. It is fun to outrun P-51's at airshows now. Down low, the A-26 is quite the serious hauler. The B model is painted in Korea era paint. The K will be in SEA camo with a black bottom and jungle on top. Come see us at the Vintage Flying Museum at Meacham Field in Ft Worth.

Ken, e-mail, 22.02.2015 18:49

A squadron was stationed at Nakhom Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand 1967-1969 while I was station there.
They were used to interdict trails in Laos and other areas of Southeast Asia. Always enjoyed watching them takeoff and land while setting in the weather observer van at the end of the runway. One of my favorite aircrafts because of it's beautiful silhouette. It just looked fast!

Pat Daily, e-mail, 11.02.2015 17:38

My Post: Pat Daily, 11.02.2015. Not sure if I posted correct email address. Correct email address is I would appreciate hearing from any reliable source on this subject. C.V.D.

Pat Daily, e-mail, 11.02.2015 17:32

I have the same question which I have not heard or seen an explanation. I was a Flight Engineer on Lt. John Wright's crew. I do remember we having to take a "little detour" around something in the middle of the taxiway on the side of K-9 before the conflict ended. Don't remember what the object was but I do know we done a little "dip" off the taxiway through what I remember was a drainage ditch running along side the taxiway. We learned after the mission that night when we were leaving debriefing that all six blades were slightly bent back. I am not sure at this time who was responsible for this incident? I have heard over the past 60 years a couple different stories. Who did it? Was it our crew, John Wright, Dick Uyehara and me, Clarence Daily, (A3C Clarence Daily) C.V.D.

Arthur L. Haarmeyer, e-mail, 23.01.2015 15:43

I had the privilege and honor of flying 50 combat missions as a bombardier-navigator in Douglas 26s with Col Delwin Bentley or Capt Robert Crow with the 95th BS, 17th BG at K-9 AFB, Pusan, throughout the last seven months of the Korean War ending on 7/27/53. Most of our missions were to destroy, damage and delay the flow of trains and trucks carrying men and materiel to the front lines alone the mountainous eastern half of the peninsula during the night at low levels and airspeeds. The B-26C was the perfect aircraft for this mission profile! I recently finished and published a book (INTO THE LAND OF DARKNESS) comprised of fifty non-fiction short stories/related photography that describe our combat experiences.

Leo F Kimminau, e-mail, 21.01.2015 07:15

God Bless, et al. I was an Arcft Electrician, (made buck Sgt in 20 months), on B-26's at Perrin AFB, TX in 1952. Was selected to Pilot Training as an Aviation Cadet in Dec 52 and ended up reporting for Basic Training in the B-25 at Vance AFB, TX in Sep 1953. The B-26 Sqdn have moved to Vance during the spring/summer of '53. The B-26 studs would 'jump' a B-25, with ONE ENGINE FEATHERED. Frank Mangini, a good friend with the B-26 Sqdn, in the Admin section got 'my silver dollar' for my first salute - and - then he and I got some 'serious pay back'!! We went to the Maintenance office after my graduation on Mar 15, 1954 and he got to call the office to 'ATTEN-SHUN' as we walked in. Some 'pay back' is just a whole better than others!! Our Pilot Class had several classmates who stayed at Vance and went to the B-26's there - I'll check if anyone of them would have something to add.

Jim Gammon, e-mail, 21.12.2014 21:15

My Dad, Howard Gammon was navigator for Col Randy Holtzapple in the 319th Bomb group in the Pacific. He recalls the names Hugh Dunwoodie, Robert Wieman and Rex Whitney but thinks they were in another squadron. He's 92 and still plugging along. He also recalls Deke Slayton who went on to Nasa but was in another squadron of the 319th than my Dad.

Larry Leiper AM 2, USN, e-mail, 09.12.2014 07:04

I flew in the JD 1, with UTRON 7, out of Brown Field, Chula Vista, California from March 58 to October 59. I was an AM 2 and flew as an observer next to the pilot. I flew three times a week, and took flights for married guys that didn't want to fly. Sometimes two flights a day. I went to survival school and have many hours in the JD 1. My only complaint is that my Navy personnel records only shows 31 hours of flight training. No mention of aircrewman wings being awarded, which still smarts to this day. Thanks Navy.

Lt Sparling, thanks for the memories of you puking in the sectional map that collapsed after it became saturated, then was thrown into the bomb bay tunnel for the guys in the aft station to get splattered on.

Lynn, e-mail, 10.11.2014 23:54

My dad Hugh Dunwoodie was a gunner on the A26 with Robert Wieman ( pilot) and Rex Whitney ( navigator ) in 1945 in the pacific. He flew from Tarawa to Enewetak in August . Is there any other crew members from this fleet of aircraft that is around?

DALLAS SIMPSON, e-mail, 05.08.2014 01:31


Ben H., 19.04.2014 19:01

I was a pilot in VU-10 at Guantanamo from 1958 to 1960 flying the JD-1. I very much enjoyed flying the aircraft and felt secure with it. Ours were set up as single pilot. I good weather, I never had a problem but in heavy rain the engines would backfire and frequently lose power. When the engine backfired you would have to return the throttle and mixture to the desired positions. I have a number of interesting stories flying through the Caribbean before it was taken over by the tourist trade.

Perry Nuhn, e-mail, 03.02.2014 23:02

1954-55, 13th Bomb Sqd., K-8,Kunsan, Korea, and Johnson AB, Japan. As a Navigator-Bombardier amassed around 600 hours in the B26 B and C. Our airlpanes were from WW!!, went through the Korean War and then the few remaining were worn out during Vietnam.

Ronald Woodhull, e-mail, 21.01.2014 18:48

To Eddie Stough:
I finally heard from someone who was in B'ham in the early 50's. I was in the AF across the field from the NG. We were training the AF reserves with10 B-26's. I was a radio Mech. They activated the reserves in 1951 and sent them to korea.

Tom Allen, e-mail, 19.01.2014 02:55

I worked on this aircraft as a Weapons Mechanic with the 850th MMS, 1st Air Commando Wing at England AFB, LA from 1966 to 1968. This was a formidable bird for the various operations in Southeast Asia.

Don Garrison, e-mail, 17.01.2014 04:07

I was assigned to the 2nd tow target at Mitchel AFB,Long Island. I was there in late 1957 to Dec.1959 when the squadron disbanded. I was an aircraft electrician. It was a great aircraft. I use too love to go out on compass swings. Would like to here from anyone who was in 2nd tow.

Wendy M, e-mail, 14.12.2013 08:10

I saw one of the fire fighter conversions flying out of Blue River BC back in 1972. The strip was a mile-long length of highway, abandoned after a realignment, and the only facilities a pink mud plant. I walked over for a look on an off day from my summer job. The Invader had just been loaded, and the pilot taxied to the far end, turned and stood on the brakes, and revved up. The plane bucked as the props became glossy discs edged in yellow and the radials howled. Then: go! The plane tore toward me and in moments passed in a blur of pure power, the pilot's white-helmeted head cocked rigid in concentration. It reached the end of the runway and lifted in a left bank. I stood there, feeling the vibration of pure thrill; so THIS was what airplane buffs were talking about!
Still visible from my viewpoint, withIn minutes pilot and plane had lined up on a small white smoke plume on the mountainside. A pink cloud erupted under the fuselage and neatly enveloped the fire. And then they were gone, whether for fuel or because the job was done, I don't know. I do know I'll never forget that experience.

Fred watkins, e-mail, 01.11.2013 16:22

n 1956/1958 Worked the ground crew and on occasion would fly right seat in the 4th Tow Sqdn. at George AFB Calif. We had missions for air to air tow for the F100 at GAFB but also Luke. In Alaska we towed for the Army Anti aircraft troops to shoot at. The SQDN was deactivated while I was there.

Roger Trudeau, e-mail, 01.10.2013 00:05

I was the Aviation Log Yeoman (ADR-3) for the U.S. Navy Aviation Squadron VU-2, Detachment Alpha, N.A.S Quonset Point, R.I., from 1960-1963. I flew many missions in the after-station of the JD-1 (i.e., Navy version of the U.S.A.F. A-26) on target-towing missions. The JD-1 was an outstanding aircraft, and I enjoyed every flight!

Dan Orr, e-mail, 11.09.2013 02:35

Flew Co-pilot/Crewchief on EPA's B26 out of Las Vegas 1973-75. Flown from coast to coast with the Remote Sensing. Carried several large cameras. All white with UE and gold trim. Nacelles later paint all blue because of Olympia, Oregon newsletter saying "EPA flying dirty bird" yep we must come down flying about a week since Lea IMG Las Vegas. Great bird one of my favorites.

Bill Arehart, e-mail, 01.08.2013 00:36

Used to be one of these just sitting out by the fence at the Douglas plant at Tulsa.The story I was told it was never flown.Does anyone remember this and know what ever happened to it?

Jim Jorgensen, e-mail, 27.07.2013 01:01

Runway feet required to land a A26 ?
Runway feet required to take off ?
Need for a book about wwii in Europe

B.F."FROGGY" WORDEN, e-mail, 16.07.2013 11:36

I was lucky enough to fly a B-26 equipped with air sampling computers for the EPA. Some missions I flew as technician and other as co-pilot. We flew over many sites in the Western US. When we arrived over a suspected violation, we would climb to 10,000 feet then spiral down through the plume of smoke. We would repeat three times and stored the data on a reel to reel recorder/computer. Ancient by todays standards. I really enjoyed my days as co-pilot, the airplane is a hoot to fly..and fast. Go Douglas!!

PAT LONG, e-mail, 18.06.2013 02:54


W. Ed Norwood, e-mail, 30.04.2013 21:12

Correction to my original comment:
Lew with Pilot Jim Raffauf & Gunner Dave Benton.

Klaatu83, e-mail, 20.04.2013 16:29

This aircraft had often been subject to confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder. During World War II the U.S. Army Air Air Force designated the Martin Marauder "B-26" (B for Bomber), and the Douglas Invader "A-26" (A for Attack). In 1947, when the U.S. Air Force was established as an independent branch of the service, one of the changes made was to abolish the old "A for Attack" designation. Since all the Martin Marauder bombers had been retired by that time, the designation for Douglas Invader was simply changed from "A-26" to "B-26". The Douglas Invader remained in service for many years thereafter, throughout the 1950s in fact, and even into the 1960s, referred to under the designation "B-26".

Henry George Butler, e-mail, 27.11.2012 05:19

It was a well built airplane. After 51 missions, it was very stable and it brought me home. Easy to fly.

John Hannum, e-mail, 27.10.2012 23:35

I finished up WWII with the 3rd Attack Group 90th Sqd. at
Atsugi Air Base, Japan. Great aircraft and great people. The A-26 carried more Cal. 50's than the 17 ,24 or 29.
8 in the nose, 3 in each wing and 2 in each of the G.E.
remote turrets.A real peice of equipment.--Jack

victor hull, e-mail, 31.08.2012 09:44

Flew 32 low level night interdiction missions in korea. The only parachute that didn't hang up on somthing in the gunners compartment was a chest pack which I stowed in a corner. I figured if we got hit at our low level it was all over anyway. the primary exit was the bomb bay.

Donald Tipton, e-mail, 29.08.2012 02:34

I had the great priviledge of working on this great aircraft as crew chief and occassionly flying on it. I was a proud member of the 603 Air Commando Sq with this aircraft at England AFB from 65-69 and moved with them to Hurlburt Field in 1969 with them. Soon after we sent them off to the bone yard and other countries. I have pictures if it everywhere. Definitely the best Acft I've ever worked on.

B Fielder, e-mail, 13.08.2012 01:57

Had the privlage of working on this FINE aircraft on two different occasions. The 1st was 1944-45 at Douglas Long Beach. After the 1st flight, we were issued "squawk-sheets" for problems encountered on the that flight. This sheet handled by a 16 year old fresh out of the "ozarks". The 2nd was in 1950 when they were being taken out of "mothballs", and prepared for the Korean Police Action. I know of one that is located in the "Lyon Air Museum" at the Orange County Airport in California. It is still Flyable.

James Robinson, e-mail, 28.07.2012 23:54

I was stationed at RAF Station Sculthorpe in late 56 and early 57. I went down to base ops one day and asked if they had anything that I could fly in just for fun. They put me on a B-26. I sat in the nose gunner's seat and could look up, down, and all around through the plexiglass. We flew all over England doing radar checks and touch and go's. I really enjoyed the priviledge.

STAN BODNER, e-mail, 30.05.2012 01:14

I flew B26's (now re-designated to its WWII name, A26,)flying NATO cold war missions as Navigator/Bombardier in Laon, France, 1953-1956. We flew low altitude missions in Western Europe. We also deployed to North Africa (Libya and Morocco) in 1953 and 1954, where we trained French pilots in B26s. Many of these French pilots were sent to combat in the French colony of Indochina (later to be known as Vietnam. This old warhorse (the B26, not me), was fast, reliable and an effective and destructive instrument of war. I loved it.

Larry, e-mail, 04.05.2012 09:31

Gunners: Using the periscope sight, could scan above and below or did you have to alternate?

T Green, e-mail, 29.04.2012 00:28

I remember my uncle being called back into the Korean War as a navigator on the B-26; flying 50 night missions. I was just a kid but he gave me his baseball cap when he returned, with 50 bombs sewn on the bill, one for each mission. His name was John Duff. Anyone remember him.

frank jervis, e-mail, 11.02.2012 21:18

This is my 2nd entry. I went through gunner school at Lowry AF Base in Denver. After this we had to choose which plane we wanted to go to combat, the B-26 or B-29. I choose the 26 and went to Langley Field for flying training and crewed up there. Then went to Stead AF Base for survival training, 15 days in the mountains of California with no food. Then to Korea, at K-9 AF Base. I was in the 17th Bomb Group and 34th Bomb Squadron and flew 25 combat mission on the B26. Had 22 missions in, all at night and one morning they woke us up and told us to get to the flight line. In briefing they told us we were going to be flying low and bombing troops. I flew 3 missions in one day and we sustained a lot of flack damage on one mission and the pilot called me and told me to prepare for bailout. I got ready and he called a few minutes later and said he thought we could get back. We had about 100 holes in the plane but she got us home. Thank God. I remember one of our planes had nose art of RICE PADDY WAGON and belonged to a Major Rice. Another was the GOLDEN BEAR and was named for a night club in Miho, Japan. I was in this club when on A R&R after 10 mission. The B-26 was a wonderful plane and very versital. Would dive bomb or fly at 30 thousand feet.After the day that we flew 3mission, I was rotated home and the next day it was announced that the cease fire had been signed. But I was heading home. 36 hours later we landed in Los Angles and then flew home to Louisville where all my family was there to meet me. So long ago.

Frank Jervis, e-mail, 09.02.2012 17:02

I was a gunner on a B26, stationed at K-9 Pusan East AF Base, South Korea. I flew 25 missions and she always brought us home, no matter the problems. Great airplane. My pilot was 1st Lt. Kevin Evans and Navigator/Bombardier was 2nd Lt. Lees Broome. I loved those guys.

Robert Cebina, e-mail, 28.12.2011 21:34

I had the privilege of being able to work on the 26's from July 68 July 69.It was great working on them. I love it when those engines fired up and that some and oli came out of those engines. As strange as it may seem I do miss that period in my life.

M.P.Keezer, MSgt. Retired, e-mail, 02.12.2011 05:51

This Aircraft has to be one of the best this country has ever had.
I flew on one during the Korean war.
Was shot down, and had it not been for the endurance of this Acft. I would not be writeing this now.
God bless the people who designed and built them.

Lee Korb, e-mail, 16.11.2011 00:58

spent a lot of time around a one-of-a-kind A-26 in Pgh., Pa. back in the late 50's/early 60's. A corporate hot rod for sure. To my knowledge, it was the only one to ever be pressurized!! Owned by Mesta Machine Co.(the folks who produced the 16" guns on the WWII Battleships among other miracles of that era). Rode in it several times....had to crawl up to the cockpit(before the Onmark Conversion). Flew my old Fairchild C-123 in and out of NKP a few times while in SEA, and saw that operation. Hard duty for those guys, but just as bad... the airframes were aging enough that some were lost due to wing failures as well.

Don Hetticher, e-mail, 26.10.2011 19:10

I was in VU2 from 1955-1958,was Plane Capt.& flew the rt. seat on JD1 #6.Great airplane,would love to hear from any one who was in the squadron.

bombardier, e-mail, 02.09.2011 11:32

That plane was very effective.It entered service at the end of WW2 and it was still available to do effective service in vietnam 20 years later.

Joe Hawkins, e-mail, 17.08.2011 23:50

To John Kelly,

John,I remember you. When the event you describe happened I was on duty as a GCA operator. We were set up on runway 22, which was short, and where the GCA was only 500 feet off the runway. When the tower hit the alarm bell we all got the hell out-- I was covered with the curtain behind the operating seats. The aircraft lost its left gear and climbed to the left passing between the runway and the GCA.

Walter Brooks, e-mail, 31.07.2011 04:12

I was the crew chief on two B-26's tail numbers 571 and 503
great machines to work on this was with 5th Tow Target Squadron Neubiberg Air Base Germany 1954-1958.let me hear from some of the 5th men.

W.A. Cardinal, e-mail, 05.07.2011 20:01

Was with the 5th Tow Target Head Quarters at Neubiberg 1954 till the last when the base was turned over to the Germans. Have a copy of the 'Yearbook' Have lot good memories of our B-26s [A-26]

Don, e-mail, 29.06.2011 00:18

Hi Wayne,
Remember me, I was in the 6th tow target squadron at Johnson,s
I would like to contact you.
I have photos of aircraft 391.


Bob Seiger, e-mail, 05.06.2011 02:16

After returning from Korea (Army) and w/Korean President Rhee threatening to "march north and unify Korea" with a gillion Chinese on the other side of DMZ and my still facing 4 years of reserve time, I decided to join the AF reserve and get out of the army reserve so, in case all hell broke out again, I'd be going back over as a "flyboy" instead of "grunt".
The planes used by my new reserve unit (the 452nd out of Long Beach, CA ) was the fabulous B-26s (glass nose versions). At our summer 2 week training in Chico, CA, it was so hot that the flight line mechanics had to keep their tools in buckets of cold water so they wouldn't fry their hands when working on the planes. While out on the town one night(not too much excitement in Chico, CA), I met an old high school buddy whom I hadn't seen since school and who was a pilot in our reserve unit. Consequently, I got to tag along (in the nose) on a few night missions to a practice bombing range West of Reno. An "E" ticket ride if there ever was one with not nav lights formations, inverted banks maneuvers and diving into the valley firing rockets into old buildings, tank hulks, etc. With the exception of nobody shooting back at you, it was probably pretty much like the real thing.
The best part of the summer camp was when I got to fly right seat back to our Long Beach base taking over the controls from Sacramento to L.A. A real experience since the only "stick" time I'd ever had, at the time, was in a J-3!
Conclusion...the B-26 Invader was and is still one hell of a hot rod airplane and if any of you ever get the opportunity to fly one or get a ride in one, go for'll like it!

Robert C. Finch, e-mail, 31.05.2011 23:28

The 47th Bomb Group flew A-26C's from bases in Italy during
1945. You can look up the history of the 47th on the internet for the names of the bases. After 1945, the 47th was stationed at Lake Charles, LA, and Biggs AFB, El Paso< Tx with A-26c's painted black for night attack missions.

appius cavalcanti, e-mail, 28.04.2011 19:10

my uncle cauby pinheiro,fly in 5th aviation group in natal.i was live within him and remember this wonderful airplane flying near in our airline captain(737-800)and dont forget these gold years.

Wayne Camp, e-mail, 27.04.2011 06:43

I was crew chief Flt. Mechanic on a B-26 while in the 6th
Tow Traget Sq.Based at Johson Air Force Base in Japan 1952
to Sept. 1954. If I remeber right the number was 4391.
I crewed that aircraft for two years. Great Aircraft.

Russ Kovach, e-mail, 08.04.2011 19:10

Was Crew Chief 0n 4139267 at Long Beach Municipal Airport.
1954-55. We trained reserves and kept pilots up on flying time. Loved this plane. Later went on B-29s and it was like going from a Corvette to a Greyhound Bus.

Lisa, e-mail, 03.04.2011 01:54

My Dad will turn 90 this June, he was a pilot in the Army Air Corp and mentioned flying the B-26 for tow targets. Never went into combat, started as Enlisted Air Crew. Trying to find anyone that may have been stationed with him. He was at Altus, OK and Marianna Fl, his time served was Jan '42 - Sep '45

John F. Smith, e-mail, 26.03.2011 01:43

I am currently a member of a volunteer crew at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT which is 7 years into restoring a A-26C Invader. It was named the Reida Rae and flew 39 combat missions in the European Theater in 1944-45.

Clyde O'Neill, e-mail, 16.03.2011 08:12

When I arrived at NAF Naples (Italy) in 1956, there were two JD-1 aircraft used for towing target sleeves for Sixth Fleet gunnery practice. These aircraft were replaced by two AD-5W Skyraiders modified with tow reels operated by an AO (Aviation Ordinanceman) for the same mission.

Bill Carlson (Msgt RET), e-mail, 07.03.2011 17:25

Was crew chief/eng. on RB-26's At Shaw AFB SC in 52-54. Great plane. Did single engine take offs as part of training for Korea bound pilots. B&C models

Jerry Kuechmann, e-mail, 05.03.2011 18:50

I flew this plane while in VU-7 at NAS North Island 1961-63. Good handling plane with ample power. Would climb at 1,200 ft/min on one engine using 2,400 RPM and 40 inches manifold pressure right after takeoff. Used for target towing, radar tracking and simulated attacks on USN ships. Of the 14 types of aircraft I flew, it was one of my two favorites. The other being the Chance Vought F-8 Crusader.

W. Ed Norwood, e-mail, 05.03.2011 18:44

I flew in 26 in 1945 as Bombardier/Navigator. Great bird! Lost engine on takeoff, no problem. My last flight with pilot, Dave Raffauf,we did shortest and longest takeoff runs possible.Still remember that great, fun day.

Harry Kline, e-mail, 03.03.2011 14:36

We had several B26's at Mitchel AFB near Hempstead, NY in 2nd Tow Target Squadron. I worked navaids on them and once got to ride jumpseat on a tow over the CZ and down into Colombia. That was in 1957-58. It was a great airplane then, and still is now after most being converted to firefighters.

Irv Baum, e-mail, 03.03.2011 06:59

Wwhat base handled tramsition to the A-26C in the 50-51 period? A very stable and forgiving aircraft

Al Williams, e-mail, 28.02.2011 01:14

Was with 5th Radar Calibration Unit at Greenville AFB and later at Pope AFB at the start of the Korean war. We had 2 B-26 in service and on June 28 1949 lost one out of Loveland Co,. - Fatal - lost 4 men and aircraft. When we got back to Pope we were given B-25's. My pilot was Capt.Pascal Corritore.l

John (Jack) Kelly, e-mail, 27.02.2011 08:25

I was NCOIC of GCA Radar Maint. at Haneda Air Base in Tokyo, Japan in 1953-54. One beautifil summer day without a cloud in the sky an A-26 decided to make a touch and go at our Base. Haneda had a 6 or 8 foot sea wall around it, the top of which was the same elevation as the runway. Some how the pilot miscalculated, and the left prop started cutting the runway just past the sea wall. The pilot got the plane back in the air, feathered the prop and went home. To Yokota Air Base as I recall. I didn't see the accident but the tower operators did, and called and asked us to take a look at the runway. There were about 10 or 12 gouges in the runway where the prop cut it.

Jim Rose, e-mail, 24.02.2011 07:26

I transitioned to B-26s right out of pilot training in 1953. Was in the 90th Bomb Squadron at K-8 for 9 months and then transfered to the 6th Tow Target Sqdn. after we moved to Johnson AB in Japan. There was nothing with a propeller that could keep up with us below 10,000'--- The firepower was awesome and flying it was a dream. Single engine performance was outstanding. I had 2 engine failures on take-offs. One with a full crew and bomb load. It's flyable!!!

D. Orr, e-mail, 10.02.2011 23:23

I had the great fortune to fly the left seat and crew one of these great aircrafts (1974-77. It was an OnMark conversion with a airstair door on the right rear side, bombay sealed. I was flying with the US Government. We had three defferant type of cameras and infared scanning equipment in the sealed bambay whihc was part of the rear cabin. We had two of these aircarft both used in aerial sensing and photgraphing. We flew all over the Untied States, just about every state. It was a joy to fly, always attracting attention everywhere we landed. Put a little over 1500 hours on it. Loved it. Unfortunaly it was destroyed in a crash when the pilot owners (civilian) flew it into the side of a mountain. The only problem was flying this beast on 100LL fuel, kept her pretty much on the timid side.

John Lingrel, e-mail, 05.02.2011 12:36

I worked on the 26 at NKP from 67 to 69 as a Comm/Nav technician. Of all the aircraft I worked on durning my Air Force stint, it was probably my favorite. Not hard to work on, and it is the most beautiful aircraft I have ever seen. As an RC modeler now, I have plans to build one in the near future

Ben Silva, e-mail, 25.01.2011 04:41

I was always fascinated with this aircraft, when I I first saw it. I was stationed at a small base in Taiwan 1963 , and they had a Air America facility there , it was pretty much covered and it only flew out at night, I will never forget that tail section., always wanted to know what kind it was then.

Charlie C.Garza (CMSGT) Ret, e-mail, 22.01.2011 00:57

After completing tec school I was assigned to Langley AFB,Va and assigned to the 500th Bomb Sq. I was a radio/ nav technician working on this aircraft as we were transitioning to the B-57 B aircraft. It was a fine aircraft and easy to work on. I once flew in one from Langley to Brooks AFB Texas on an easter weekend and I really enjoyed the flight.I still remember the aircraft serial number 4435436

Eugene (Ric) Ricci (CMSGT) RET, e-mail, 20.01.2011 05:52

Langley AFB, VA....1951-54. My first assignment after A&E school. 4440 Combat Crew Trng Sq. After working as A/C mechanic (periodic MX), I was transfered to the Test Flight Branch. We flew all required test flights prior to returning the planes to the flying sqadrons. What a thrill for a 21 year old airman. Capt Wise was the test pilot. I (as well as Sgt Corley, Sgt Cable) would fly with him. Fond memories of a great airplane for it's time.

Vicki Arceci, e-mail, 13.01.2011 03:55

Does anyone know what airfields the A-26 flew out of in Italy during WWII? My father was a rear gunner on one.

Carlos Motta de Souza, e-mail, 12.01.2011 03:48

I was assigned to Brazilian Air Force 5th Aviation Group (Natal, Brazil) to fly this beutiful and gentle to handle aircraft from 1962 until 1969. In order to perform a great up grade, I led 5 from 15 a/c, from Natal to Tucson/AZ in 1966 and in 1968 from Tucson backing to Natal. I love this bird.

samuel marsico, e-mail, 18.12.2010 03:59

I earned my wings at LaJunta, Col in aug 44,Flew B5 there, sent to DelRio, Tex, Laughlin Fld, for oper tng in Martin B26. Next was Barksdale Fld Shreveport, La.Assigned a crew ready to go. Jan 45 orders cancelled.Sent to Florence AAfb to fly The Dream Bird A26. One pilot,engineer gunner in rear, 6 50's in nose for pursuit and strafing and bomb bay for skipping. All tng was low level and night . Nov 45 wwii had ended , sent to WestoverFld, Mass, flew transition for couple months,in active reserve, FOB in Dalhart, Tex. Always wanted to get to fly the Bird. I agree, one helluva bird. Always brought ya home.Fast, easy to fly, forgave alot, outran the Jugs at SumterFld, SC many time, never won in a dog fght, cruised in sgl eng with no problem. Happy day's. Sorry I never got to go to combat.

a.casais, e-mail, 19.11.2010 21:25

sorry, this is not the widowmaker, the one is the B-26 Martin Marauder, i confused the numbers.

a.casais, e-mail, 18.11.2010 21:19

At this plane, they use to called, " the widowmaker" i guess why?

George radell, e-mail, 12.11.2010 06:56

I was a tow reel operator on B-26's during 1951 to 1953.
I was in the 4th tow target squadron based at Georgge AFB in Victorville
Califotnia and also flew at our remote base,Larson AFB, in Moses Lake
Washington. We towed both banner and sleeve targets for the sixth army
On the west was always an exciting aircraft and very versatile.
Great memories!

Ed Parker, e-mail, 10.11.2010 04:53

I crewed the B26 then A26s at England AFB supporting the training of what would become the Nimrods in Thailand. I truly regret not getting to go to Thailand with a great plane and a great bunch of guys. Tail #641 is in Tucson at the Pima Air Museum and I crewed that aircraft.

Randy Schamberger, e-mail, 31.10.2010 07:13

I was an instructor navigator in the A-26A flying out of England AFB, LA, '68-69 for aircrews heading for NKP, Thailand. It was the best and most challenging job a nav could have. As a right seater, you were actually a co-pilot controlling mixtures, armament switches, coordinating with the pilot on almost everything. Some navs with more time in the aircraft than I did actually did take-offs and landings. I did get lots of stick time in the air. One of our aircraft is on display at Hurlburt Field, FL. Every time I see it I get homesick.

Ross Snyder, e-mail, 11.10.2010 23:23

I was a plane captain on a Invader with 800 hrs flying in one from 52-55. It was for towing for the navy at Gitmo VU-10. Navy bought 150 from the AF for this type mission. The A-26c was renamed navy JD-1. A good airplane, would always take you and bring you back.

mark A. Gasiorowski, e-mail, 23.09.2010 19:20

Hi Folks , Trying to find A-26 pictures during the fifties at Newark Airport New jersey Air National Guard. Thanks

Robert Dusick, e-mail, 20.09.2010 02:45

stationed in NKP Non Khom Phanom Thiland 1965-66 saw some at work there. Sweet.

Robert S, Lindley, e-mail, 18.09.2010 06:04

Stumbled onto the site and what great stories. I currently crew on an Invader on the airshow circuit repping the 13th B/S during the Korean War and have done so for 10 years. To those of you who have either flown or turned wrenches on these beautiful birds, we also honor your experiences and efforts. To be around an Invader is to be smitten, something we all share whether it be 'then' or now.

Always enjoy hearing from Invader folks. Regards.

CHARLES MATHEWS, e-mail, 08.09.2010 06:32


John Young, e-mail, 01.09.2010 00:07

My father was working at Douglas Long Beach during WW II when he first was assigned to the B-26B engineering department. He and his co-workers drew the full size drawings for production of the B-26B. He worked on all the drawings for the cockpit, oil cooler intakes, and wing guns. These guns originally had "visor" or "eyelid" movable covers over them but this approach was dropped before production. He took our family to the Douglas plant for an open-house where a test pilot flew a B-26B that took off from a runway next to the viewing stand after locking the brakes and getting up to max power before letting off the brakes. The nose came up immediately and it was several hundred feet off the ground when it passed in front of the crowd. What an airplane! It had a laminar flow wing section that had to be so smooth he had to wear soft leather "booties" when on the wing taking measurements.

Bob Sternberg, 31.08.2010 04:46

One of the most responsive and fun to fly airplanes around. We had them in Korea and the 1st Tow Target Squadron, towing for the Army at Ft. Bliss, El Psao, Texas. It had power to spare and had excellent armorment.

Jerry Sutts, e-mail, 30.08.2010 18:32

I flew as a gunner on B-26's at K-8, Korea in 1952-53 for 50+ combat missions. I then returned to Langley AFB and flew B-26's there until the aircraft was replaced by B-57's in 1955. A great aircraft and a great experience.

Don Goeke, e-mail, 26.08.2010 07:33

I was an aircraft electrician and had just got stationed at Itazuke AB,Japan and I got sent to Bien Hoa, Vietnam TDY in January 1963to the 1st Air Commando outfit and when I walked on to the flight line it was like I went back in history as the front line bomber we had was the Douglas B-26. Let me tell you this little aircraft was a jewel in my eyes. We had two glass nose, then we had a mixture of 26's with 6 and 8 guns in the nose and all of them had the 3 in each wing. I was with them for 6 months and enjoyed every day. The only thing I regret is that I never got a flight in one.

Don Goeke, e-mail, 26.08.2010 07:28

I was an aircraft electrician and had just got stationed at Itazuke AB,Japan and I got sent to Bien Hoa, Vietnam TDY to the 1st Air Commando outfit and when I walked on to the flight line it was like I went back in history as the front line bomber we had was the Douglas B-26. Let me tell you this little aircraft was a jewel in my eyes. We had two glass nose, then we had a mixture of 26's with 6 and 8 guns in the nose and all of them had the 3 in each wing. I was with them for 6 months and enjoyed every day. The only thing I regret is that I never got a flight in one.

Henry J Bendinelli, e-mail, 17.08.2010 08:48

The first time I saw this aircraft, only the big square rudder and fin were sticking up above a hangar as I was a million miles away, marching in formation as an aviation cadet at Maxwell field Alabama.
Troop Carrier Command saw me in C-47's & later C-46's in England and France. After WW-2 it was Reserve flying in C-46's again, and later, navigating Douglas DC-4's with Alaska Airlines on the Anchorage-Tokyo run.

In January 1952 I saw the B-26 again at Kimpo airfield, Korea. I flew 41 missions as navigator in RB-26 aircrafts during Korean war-----12th Tactical Recon Squadron. Although I was not at all new to flying, but the more I flew in that Douglas creation the more I admired the Douglas aircraft designers. Rugged and reliable, you could depend upon it to get you out of a tight situation FAST, when you badly needed it. A truly impressive aircraft.
The only fault I had with it was it was a terrificly NOISY aircraft---every cylinder of those beautiful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, exhausting directly out into the atmosphere--and against the crew's eardrums.

But good 'Ol Uncle Sam has issued me excellent hearing aids, and at age 86 I'm still navigating a new pair of skis, and also bicycling and hiking. I'm not complaining at all, and what a splendid batch of memories I have!

JOHN HAGAMAN, e-mail, 03.08.2010 05:52


Bob O'Connell, e-mail, 20.07.2010 20:48

Our squadron had 2 B-26's which had been modified to towtarget aircraft. I was a tow target operator for 3596 Training Squadron(Combat Crew) which was formed at the beginning of the Korean War, June 1950, at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
We towed 6x9 flag(banner) targets for aerial gunnery at 12000, or 20000 ft. We started with F-51's, converted to F-80's, and then to F-86's. We even tried to tow a series of canard winged gliders, with not much success. Hundreds of hours in the B-26, both in aerial gunnery missions, and also we flew cross country to retrieve any live ammunition from some of our aircraft which didn't make it back from cross-country trips. I was also an instructor at the Armament School at Lowry Field, Denver Co. Was sent TDY to Nellis for the USAF gunner meet in March-April 1950, and then was reassigned to Nellis at the start of the Korean War.

Carl Lindberg III, e-mail, 31.05.2010 07:17

My father, Carl Lindberg (a B-25 pilot from WWII), flew B-26s in 24 night intruder combat missions as a member of the 37th Bomb Squadron in Korea. He was awarded his second DFC and his fifth, sixth and seventh Air Medal for various actions during this inherently hazardous night flying during the period from 03DEC52 to 07NOV53. Dad was proud of his Korean War service, grew to like the B-26 almost as much as the B-25, but was unhappy that this war was forgotteen by many or just called a "Police Action".
Dad retired in 1969 as a LTC and died in February, 2005.

Joe Jefferis, e-mail, 20.04.2010 18:46

I flew 156 combat missions during 1968 and 1969 in the A-26A (B-26K). A great airplane for he mission we had. 609th Special Operation Sq. In late 1969 Air Force retired the A-26's and replaced them with AC-130 gunships.

Gareth, e-mail, 29.03.2010 19:40

A follow up:
Hopefully this information helps.
34th Squadron, 17th Bomb Group.

Thanks guys!

Chester Gasiorowski, e-mail, 19.03.2010 04:38

Looking for pictures of A26'S 119th utility squadron 1949 to 1854.

Chester A. Gasiorowski, e-mail, 19.03.2010 04:29

Hi I'm looking for info on my old squadron. The 119th fighter squadron out of Newark NJ. back in 1949 to 1954. Trying to find my old accident report when I crashed my P-51.

Robert E. Reynolds, e-mail, 02.03.2010 01:53

A damn fine aircraft. I flew 52 missions with the 17th BW, 34th BS as a gunner/observer from K-9 AFB, Pusan East in 1952. Also flew the B-26 Invader with the 452nd BW, 728th BS in the AF Reserves from Long Beach, CA until we
became a Transport wing with C-46's and later C-119's in 1957.

Eddie Stough, e-mail, 23.02.2010 17:39

Engineer on the B-26 1949-1950 in the Alabama National Guard, Birmingham, Alabama. Loveed flying the ship.

cecil j. poss, 26.01.2010 19:18

I flew the B's and C's in the reserve at Dobbins Air Force Base. Also flew 50 missions in Korea as a night intruder pilot Great a/c! We kept all the lights out north of the bomb line in North Korea and also got cedit for two trains destroyed.

Gareth Fabor, e-mail, 19.01.2010 14:35

Sirs, does anyone know Kenneth P. Juhl? He was my grandfather. He was a test pilot for the b-25 and the a-26 over North Africa. If anyone you knew him (he has since passed), please e-mail me. I am looking for old pictures and flight logs. Thank you!

Ken Grace, e-mail, 09.01.2010 05:20

I worked on this aircraft in 1966 while stationed at England AFB with the 1st Air Commando Wing. We rotated these in and out of Vietnam. It was an honor to work on the engines of such an aircrft with such a great history.

Bill Arthur, e-mail, 01.01.2010 18:22

I went through advanced training in the B-26 but got stuck as a flight instructor in B-25s. Later flew the B-26 in Reserve at longbeach AFB. Shocked when they were replaced with C-45s and later C-119s. Loved flying the B-26, a great airplane, plenty of power and just plain fun to fly.

Jack L Brewer, e-mail, 08.10.2009 01:59

My father was Col. William C. Brewer he flew 45 Missions in this plane in Korea had many stories of his missions , said it was his favirot plane to fly, was a dream, he also had 25 missions in a B-17 WWII, Cold War B-52, Vietnam 26 missions B-52 Day Commander Utipio, did not loose a single crew member,

Proud Son of a SAC Commander , Jack

Ned, e-mail, 02.07.2009 03:51

I was a kid living on Clark AFB, Philippines in the mid-late 1950'S. I remember quite a few ex-French B-26s parked out-of-the-way while the USAF was deciding what to do with them. The aircraft had been returned to USAF control at the conclusion of French-Viet conflict.

Russ Kovach, e-mail, 26.09.2008 23:33

I was Crew Chief on B-26B 4139267 at Long Beach Municipal Airport (California) 1954-55. We had an array of B's and C's returned from Korea that reserve pilots kept up their flying time in.Also was crew member. Loved that plane that could be flown as a fighter .

Bill Query, e-mail, 30.08.2008 23:00

I flew the JD for 2 years at Gtmo in VU-10--1960/62. Also flew the FJ and F8 during that time. I enjoyed the JD---single pilot, fast and a challenge to make a good landing. Landed at the Coast Guard base in San Juan (3,000ft) at night---it took two tries and I still think it was a dumb mission for the senior types to send me on, especially as I had not landed at night before.

Thomas, e-mail, 14.08.2008 04:57

I was a metalsmith (AMH-2) in VU-2 at Quonset Point R.I. and worked on the JD'S ,FJ's and Drones. The Jig-dog was a good old plane and ez to work on. I also was a crew member and had a ball doing it. Yes sir, the good old day's.

Jack Brewer, e-mail, 22.07.2008 23:20

My Father Is a retired Col. (USAF) He flew 45 Missions 1950-51 Korea as pilot with two Navigators at night. His Assignment was to blow up anything that moved, stated it was the finest plane with Props the he ever flew, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross after Korea (He has 23,000 Hrs Behind the stick with the air force,WWII, Korea, SAC, Vietnam, His name is William C. Brewer, He is still flying at 85, He has told us at times he had up to 80 holes in this plane and it would still Fly, It also had a flat wing design for speed, For it's time it was quite possibly the best medium Bomer ever built.

Jim Warner, e-mail, 07.07.2008 17:50

I flew the JD-1 in Utility Squadron 2 out of NAS Quonset Point to tow targets for Destroyers out of Newport. It flew like a fighter. Also no co-pilot to make smart remarks.

Alex Brewer, Jr., e-mail, 14.06.2008 08:09

I flew 50 mission in the RB-26 Recon version of the B-26 during the Korean War. This was a very reliable airplane with good performance, even with an engine shot out. A B-26 dropped the first Bombs of the Korean War and also dropped the last Bombs. Later B-26s were modified and saw action in the Vietnam war.
Lt/Col Alex Brewer, Jr. USAF (Ret)

george sobodos, e-mail, 27.05.2008 02:31

I was a gunner on this aircraft in 1944-45 and a profile veiw showing the peroscopic heads are very seldom shown.Why?

Dave Robinson, e-mail, 14.05.2008 02:50

The B-26 was also used to tow targets for army AAA out of George AFB and tracking for Nike sites.

Fatal error: Uncaught Error: Undefined constant "isMob" in /data03/virt15346/domeenid/ Stack trace: #0 {main} thrown in /data03/virt15346/domeenid/ on line 165