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13th squadron logo

Commanders
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Lt. Col. Robert E. Jarrell
May 1949 - October 1950

Lt. Col. Jarrell commanded the Squadron during a period when no one expected to go to war. It was a training squadron on occupation duty. Then the squadron was sent to war under equipped and ill trained. Jarrell commanded the squadron during the most dynamic phase of the war.

Robert Jarrell
"Robert Jarrell"

On June 25th, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea and on the 28th the squadron flew its first mission and suffered its first losses. The squadron was moved from its occupation duty base of Johnson AB to the Australian Air Base at Iwakuni on the western shore of Japan.

During Lt. Col. Jarrell's tenure the United Nations ground forces first engaged the enemy on July 4th and were continually pushed back, trading space for time. As the North Koreans advanced their convoys packed the roads, making them vulnerable to attack by United Nations aircraft.

In late July, General Walker, 8th Army Commander, formed a line along the Naktong river that became part of a perimeter around the port and airbase at Pusan. It was here that General MacArthur gave his stand or die order. UN aircraft continued to attack North Korean convoys and front line forces. United Nations forces successfully held the Pusan perimeter.

On September 15th MacArthur successfully landed Marines well behind the North Korean lines at Inchon. The South Korean capital at Seoul was re-captured and two weeks after the landing UN forces had crossed the 38th parallel. On the 16th of October, as Lt. Col. Jarrells command ended, the United Nations forces were advancing north into the North Korean capital at Pyongyang and toward its major port at Wonsan.

Jarrell's command had seen the war begin, American and UN forces face near disaster at the Pusan perimeter, and with the invasion at Inchon, proceed north to the occupation of almost 50% of North Korea.

Lt. Col. Walter S. King
October 1950 - February 1951

If beloved could be a word for a Squadron Commander, those words would most certainly fit Col. King. Col. King was killed in action on Feb 21, 1951 while Squadron Commander of the 13th. He was leading a flight of four aircraft on a low level bombing raid, dropping four 1,000 pound bombs with delayed action fuses. His plane was erroneously loaded with Comp-B filled bombs, which was notoriously unstable, instead of TNT. The bombs exploded on impact, vaporizing the plane and crew.
Walter King
"Walter King"

Major John J. Davis
February 1951

Major Davis was Squadron Commander for one week during the transition between King and Belser.
John Davis
"John Davis"

Lt. Col. Joseph H. Belser
February 1951 - December 1951

Col Belzer was a no-nonsense Commander who did not tolerate "screw ups". His punishment for screwing up was to send the miscreant off to the tents and the mud of the front lines to work as a forward air controller.
Joseph Belser
"Joseph Belser"

Lt. Col. Alvin R. Fortney
December 1951 - July 1952

Lt. Col Fortney believed that bombing with the Norden bombsight operated by a Bombardier in the nose was an ineffective tactic in view of the conditions under which the aircraft fought. He believed the firepower should be placed in the hands of a pilot flying a 'hardnosed' aircraft. In as much as the majority of the "tiger" pilots were already in the 13th Squadron, all hardnosed aircraft should be assigned to the 13th. On January 28th, 1952 the 13th became a "hardnosed" squadron.


Lt. Col Fortney believed in pressing the attack low to achieve maximum firepower, and on Feb. 8th he proved he followed his own advice when he brought back The 6th Chadwick with her nose and wings battered with rocks and debris from flying though his own rocket blast.
Rob Fortney
"Rob Fortney"

the 6th Chadwick's Nose Job
"the 6th Chadwick's nose job"

Lt. Col. Estes B. Sherrill
July 1952 - November 1952

During the summer of 1952 the Communists had marshalled extremely heavy firepower along their main supply routes and the B-26s, particularly the 13th Squadron, suffered very heavy losses. The 5th Air Force Commander determined that the USAF was trading B-26s for trucks at a very uneconomical rate. In August 1952 the 3rd Gp stood down for a period of retraining and a shift in tactics. The hardnosed aircraft were redistribted among the three Squadrons and restrictions in tactics imposed to reduce aircraft losses. In August the Group began flying daylight formation flights. In September tactics were changed again. Colonel Sherrill, and his Executive Officer, Captain John Power, (who later became "the voice of the Astronauts") devised a "Hunter-Killer" plan whereby a 'hunter' B-26 would block the roads with bombs, and then a B-26 dropping flares would light the area for a 'killer' B-26 to attack the backed up traffic.
Estes Sherrill
"Estes Sherrill"

Major Vincent R. La Berge
November 1952 - 1953

During this time 5th Air Force had sorted out the role of the hard nosed B-26 and the 13th again was a low-level night interdiction Squadron, but with crews who had been specially trained for the role. During this period the 13th again became train killers and had several pilots with locomotive kills to their credit, with "Killer Covell" being high scorer with seven.

Only one aircrew was lost during Major La Berge's tenure. The squadron had an excellent safety record in both air and ground operations. The 13th abort rate was the lowest in the Group while mission effectiveness was exceptional.
Vincent La Berge
"Vincent La Berge"

Lt. Col. David W. Allerdice
1953
(No words available.)
David Allerdice
"David Allerdice"

Lt. Col. Stanley D. Kline
1953
(No words available.)
Stanley Kline
"Stanley Kline"

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