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The B-26 Invader
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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"
"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, supersonic stars.

The 7th Chadwick
"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.

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