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Military Aircraft

Robert Conrad as Major Pappy BoyingtonWhistling Death  - Major Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, the real-life aviator played by Robert Conrad on the military drama BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP/NBC/1976-78, nicknamed his WWII Corsair fighter aircraft the "Whistling Death." In 1943, his VMF-214 squadron of Marine Corps fighter pilots (known as the "Black Sheep Squadron") flew 1766 missions in 84 days over Japanese occupied territory in the Pacific ocean. Boyington captured the major share of the kills; he downed 22 of the 48 (a pilot was officially designated an "Ace" when he downed a total of five aircraft). Squadron Commander Boyington had been highly successful before the war as a pilot for The Flying Tigers based in Burma who supported the Chinese in their battle against the invading Japanese forces.

On July 4, 1942, the American Volunteer Group (a.k.a. "The Flying Tigers") transferred to the Army Air Force and eventually became the 14th Air Force. Their winged tiger on their insignia reflects the groups origins. While in China, Boyington shot down six Japanese planes and later received the Medal of Honor.


TRIVIA NOTE: The illustrated books F-4-U Corsair and F-4-U in Action by F.A. Johnson (Squadron Signal Publications) recounts the battles of these famed flying machines throughout WWII. The Corsair could reach a top air speed of 400 mph. See also - "Black Sheep Squadron"


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