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
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
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