A SEPECAT Jaguar GR1 of No. 41 Squadron, RAF, is serviced as a U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle from the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing taxis during Operation Desert Shield, 23 January, 1991.
An unsung workhorse and success story, the Jaguar proved a capable and resilient little aircraft, one surviving a hit from a Sam-7 or similar to the port engine during the conflict. In all they flew some 600 sorties without loss, destroying 15 Iraqi ships, before turning their attention to the silkworm missile and SAM sites as well as artillery batteries along the Kuwaiti coast, which threatened coalition warships.
An F-15E, personally flown into the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex by a fighter wing commander, returns to its mission home after completing programmed depot maintenance here. A crew from the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, flew the jet off the Robins flight line on May 24. Col. Christopher Sage, commander of the 4th FW, piloted the Eagle here himself on Nov. 30 as a gesture of thanks to the Robins team that keeps his unit’s fighter planes flying. The aircraft spent 164 days in PDM. It was inducted into the PDM cycle on Dec. 5 and was “sold” on May 18.
The 352nd FG was scheduled to fly a bomber escort mission on New Year’s Day. The night before, Lt. Colonel John C. Meyer asked for permission to fly a local patrol along the front before the escort mission to clear the air of any enemy planes that were in the vicinity. He was first denied his request, but was later granted permission. Twelve planes of the 487th FS were readied for the early morning mission. JC, leading the Squadron, took off into the first wave of enemy fighters. Despite the fact that the airfield was under attack all 12 blue nosed Mustangs made it off the ground safely. Meyer’s hunch had paid off.
After scoring his first victory of the day in “Petie 3rd” HO-M, Meyer latched on to a second Focke Wulf fighter and chased it all the way to Liege before shooting it down. His performance in the “Legend of Y-29” battle earned him his third Distinguished Service Cross.
A few days lt. Lt. Col. Meyer was seriously injured in an automobile accident and saw no further combat during WWII. After the war JC remained in the Air Force. He was CO of the 4th FIW when they deployed to Korea in the autumn of 1950. He shot down two MiGs and damaged a third to bring his score to 26. Attaining the rank of General by 1959, Meyer would earn four stars and be in charge of the Strategic Air Command before he retired in 1974.
General Meyer, born in Brooklyn, New York, attended schools in New York and left Dartmouth to become an Aviation Cadet in 1939. After the war he graduated from Dartmouth College with a bachelor of arts degree in political geography. He enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps in November 1939 in order to fly. In July 1940 he was commissioned a second lieutenant and awarded pilot wings. Second Lieutenant Meyer was assigned to flight instructor duty at Randolph Field, Texas and Gunter Field, Alabama. He was then transferred to the 33rd Pursuit Squadron of the 8th Pursuit Group at Mitchel Field, New York to fly the P-40. During the tense days before the United States entered World War II, the Group was sent to Iceland, flying convoy patrol missions. He then received orders in September 1942 to report to the newly formed 352nd Fighter Group at Westover, Massachusetts where he, as a 1st Lieutenant, assumed command of the 34th Pursuit Squadron that had recently returned from the Philippines in name only and was in need of new equipment and personnel. By the end of December, Meyer had received most of the ground personnel and had twenty six pilots assigned, but had no aircraft. In January, the unit moved to New Haven, Connecticut and began picking up the first P-47 Thunderbolt fighters that it would take to combat. The 34th was redesignated as the 487th Fighter Squadron in May 1943 prior to receiving orders to deploy to England.
Captain Meyer took the 487th Fighter Squadron to its new base at RAF Bodney in East Anglia and into combat during World War II scoring its first victory in November while flying a P-47. By then he had been promoted to major and began leading the group in aerial victories. He continued to score against German fighters and remain a leading ace after the 352nd transitioned to the P-51 Mustang and adopted their famous “Blue Noses”. By November 1944 he was deputy commander of the 352nd Fighter Group and the fourth highest scoring American ace in Europe with 24 confirmed air-to-air victories and 13 destroyed on the ground.
In December Meyer, as a Lieutenant Colonel, deployed with the 352nd to a forward base in Belgium designated “Y-29”. His foresight in having the 487th squadron preflighted and ready to take off on 1 January averted a major disaster when the field was attacked by fighters of Jagdgeschwader 11 in the massive aerial assault known as Operation Bodenplatte. Meyer led the takeoff under fire and scored against a strafing Fw-190 before his landing gear retracted earning a Distinguished Service Cross that day.
Later, a vehicle accident left him with a severe leg injury thereby ending his combat flying with the 352nd after flying 200 combat missions with 462 combat flying hours and scoring 24 aerial victories with another 13 credited to ground strafing. He also scored 3 in P-47 Thunderbolts (jugs)
In 1948 General Meyer was selected as the Secretary of the Air Force’s principal point of contact with the United States House of Representatives. General Meyer then returned to a tactical flying unit in August 1950 when he assumed command of the 4th Fighter Wing at New Castle, Delaware. He took the F-86 Sabre jet wing to Korea where it flew in the First United Nations Counteroffensive and Chinese Communist Forces Spring Offensive campaigns. He destroyed two communist MiG-15 aircraft, bringing his total of enemy aircraft destroyed (air and ground) to 39½.
After a tour of duty as Director of Operations for Air Defense Command and Continental Air Defense Command, General Meyer graduated from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in June 1956, and was retained as an instructor at the college. He was then assigned to Strategic Air Command where he commanded two air divisions in the Northeast United States. In July 1962 he moved to the headquarters of SAC at Offutt Air Force Base, as the deputy director of plans, and also served as the commander in chief Strategic Air Command’s representative to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff.
In November 1963 General Meyer became the commander of the Tactical Air Command’s Twelfth Air Force with headquarters at James Connally AFB in Waco, Texas. Twelfth Air Force provided tactical air units for joint logistic and close air support training with Army ground units stationed in the western half of the United States.
In February 1966 he was assigned to the Organization of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff where he served first as deputy director and then vice director of the Joint Staff. In May 1967 he became the director of operations on the Joint Staff.
He was then selected to be the vice chief of staff of the United States Air Force, and assumed those duties in August 1969. He served as the vice chief of staff through April 1972. On May 1, 1972, he became the seventh commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command, and the director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff. As commander of SAC from 1972 to 1974, he directed Operation Linebacker II, the ‘Christmas Bombing’ of North Vietnam.
General Meyer’s military career has included a very broad variety of Air Force and joint assignments. He held operational jobs in air defense interceptors, tactical fighters and strategic bombers. He had also been a key member of the Joint Staff, the Headquarters U.S. Air Force staff, and the Strategic Air Command staff. He had been called upon to command major tactical and strategic units, and retired on July 1, 1974, as the commander in chief of the Strategic Air Command.
General Meyer died of a heart attack on December 2, 1975.
Source: National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
The F-15E was designed in the 1980s for long-range, high speed interdiction without relying on escort or electronic-warfare aircraft. The F-15E reached initial operational capability on 30 September 1989 at Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, 336th Tactical Fighter Squadron
A view of a pilot and co-pilot in the cockpit of a U.S. Air Force F-15E Eagle fighter aircraft assigned to the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing as the aircraft refuels over Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield. #DesertStorm #DesertShield
Five North American F-86A Sabre fighters of the 4th Fighter Interceptor Wing on the flight line at Suwon, South Korea, in June 1951.
The F-86As were F-86A-5-NA:
49-1158 was damaged by a MiG-15 on 23 September 1951;
49-1276 of the 336th FIS was shot down by a MiG-15 on 22 June 1951 (pilot Lt. Howard Miller made POW but died in captivity)
49-1251 was written off on take off from Kimpo K-14 on 29 May 1952. (pilot Jimmy L. Schneider ok)
49-1261; fate not known
49-1236 of the 334th FIS was shot down by a MiG-15 near Sinanju on 24 October 1951. (pilot Lt. Bradley Irish made POW, repatriated 1953)
Nice snap of Col. Jeannie Leavitt getting gas from a KC-135R. If you’re not familiar with Jeannie, you should be!
An F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft piloted by Col. Jeannie Leavitt receives fuel from a KC-135R Stratotanker during her final flight, May 29, 2014, over North Carolina. During her career as the first female fighter pilot, Leavitt recorded more than 2,600 flying hours in the F-15E. Leavitt is the 4th Fighter Wing commander. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman John Nieves Camacho/Released)
Nearly 70 F-15E Strike Eagles of the 4th Fighter Wing performed an “Elephant Walk” during a Turkey Shoot training mission on Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C., on Apr. 16, 2012: a contingent larger than a mid-size European air force and a “show of force”
The wing, with aircrews assigned to the 333rd, 334th, 335th, and 336th Fighter Squadrons, generated about 70 sorties to destroy more than 1,000 targets on bombing ranges across the state, to commemorate the 4th’s victory over the Luftwaffe on Apr. 16, 1945.