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|With a maximum diving speed of 420 MPH and a three ton load of
various armaments, (i.e., 500 lb. bombs, napalm, firebombs, rockets,
etc.) a talented and dedicated crew (pilot, navigator and gunner)
could cause to come to pass the very purpose of war, which is,
on the most basic level - "to kill people and break things.
"Love In Flight"
|Powered by two 2,000 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2800 air-cooled
radial engines, its substantial bomb load and firepower (which,
at one time included a 75 mm canon in the nose), the Invader could
waltz away from all then current reciprocating engine competition
(except perhaps the P-51 Mustang Fighter) at well beyond 350 MPH
at sea level.
With the coming of the jet age, the B-26 performance took on something
of a human dimension and was subdued by the new, high-flying,
"The 7th Chadwick"
|But even then, it stayed around for a crucial role in the Southeast
Asian conflict and competently accomplished tasks for which its
talent was unique. It could loiter over the target for many hours.
The Invader went on to serve with distinction in the Air Forces
of some twenty foreign countries.
|In 1972 the last active duty USAF B-26 Invader was retired. It
is now enshrined with other aviation greats in the National Air
and Space Museum in Washington, DC. Thus passed into aviation
history the only combat aircraft to see service in the Second
World War, Korea and Vietnam.
Today, at age 74, I look back, with admittedly a heavy heart and
a bit of a moist eye, and count my blessing that for the night
intruder work assigned to the 13th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Group,
Korea, we were given, by the Grace of God and Ed Heinemann, the
almost perfect instrument in the creation of the B-26 Invader.