Friday, April 27, 2012

Lightnings After the Dance

Handwritten on the back of this small snapshot is "1946, Memphis Tenn."
During World War II, over 10,000 P-38 Lightnings were produced by Lockheed, and was the only US fighter that remained in continuous production throughout the entire duration of America's participation in the conflict. But as soon as hostilities ceased, the Army Air Corps had a huge number of surplus aircraft on its hands, ones that were quickly made obsolete by the new-fangled jets. The last P-38 was retired from US military service in 1949, and some were transferred to friendly foreign governments, some were sold on the civilian market and used as air racers, but most were scrapped to recover the aluminum.

Today's post features two photos that came from unrelated sources, but both of which show P-38s in 1946. The first shows a plane at a Memphis open house. In the background can also be seen a C-46, B-24 and C-54.

A mix of P-38s and B-24s at a scrapyard in Ontario (presumably Calif.).
The second shows what became of so many of the machines that brought America and her allies victory. The caption written on the back reads, "From atop the Ford, scene at Ontario, May '46." The P-38 in the foreground is tail 213377, which makes this one of 548 Block 10 P-38Gs that were built.

It's scenes like this that make me extra thankful that at least a handful of these old vets were save and still fly!

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