Aviation Historian 10
D.Gordon - The Polka-Dot Ridge Runners
Bearing the name Linda and Bobby Jr on the engine cowling, F-51D 45-11613 is seen here in a line of Mustangs at K-14 Kimpo in 1951. On strength with the 45th TRS, this machine was written off during an accident at Itazuke airbase in Japan on November 2 that year. Note the Douglas RB-26s of the 12th TRS in the background.
Wearing the buzz number FF-914 - standard F-51Ds were designated “FF”, the photo-recce RF-51Ds “RF” - Mustang Ana M gets under way at Tsuki in Japan, where all regular major maintenance work for the 45th’s aircraft was undertaken. This aircraft was given two names, the port side being marked as Susan Mk II.
In early 1953 the Polka Dots swapped their Mustangs for Lockheed RF-80s, an occasion that demanded a photo-call, with RF-51D Wind Wraith being posed nose-to-nose with an RF-80 at Kimpo on January 1, 1953.
Lieutenant Bob Sweet on the wing of a Mustang in Korea. Sweet went on to fly Lockheed RF-80s, Republic RF-84Fs, McDonnell RF-101 Voodoos and McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms for the USAF.
The ungainly underwing store used during Project Camera Pod in an attempt to upgrade F-51Ds.
Colonel Karl Lewis Polifka, CO of the 67th TRW in Korea, in the cockpit of a Lockheed P-38 during World War Two.
RF-51D 44-11913 operated with the polka-dot markings of the 45th TRS, and was named Tulie, Scotty & ?; the wife of the pilot who named the aircraft was pregnant when he left for Korea, but he was killed in another aircraft before the unnamed child was born. The unit retained the Mustang’s name in his honour.
45-я тактическая разведывательная эскадрилья имела RF-51D и "чистые" F-51D. Данный RF-51, "Symon's Lemon", запечатлен над Северной Кореей в 1952 году. В хвостовой части видно окно для камеры.
With the 45th TRS’s trademark polka-dots on the spinner and tips of the wings and tailplane (and, unusually, with the tailwheel down in flight), RF-51D 44-14547 Symons Lemon pushes up close for a photograph during a mission. Note the direction-finding loop fitted to the RF-51D aft of the mast aerial on the rear fuselage.
North American RF-51D 44-84775 of the 45th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (TRS), seen here at Kimpo, sports the unit’s distinctive polka-dot spinner. Despite suffering an accident on May 18, 1952, this aircraft was eventually returned to the USA, where it served with the 105th TRS as part of the Tennessee Air National Guard.
A 45th TRS pilot walks out to RF-51D 44-84778 My Mimi as the Mustang is prepared for another adrenalin-fuelled low-level sortie over enemy territory. The 45th operated more F-51Ds than RF-51Ds, the former being tasked with strafing targets of opportunity as well as recce duties. Note the polka-dot helmet on the Mustang’s wing.
An RF-51D is serviced on the busy flightline at K-14 Kimpo in November 1951. The variant was equipped with an AN/AMQ-1A wire recorder which enabled the pilot to voice-record what he saw, to be played back on his return to base.
The 45th TRS was the only unit to operate the RF-51D during the Korean conflict, the variant being fitted with camera ports in the rear fuselage, as seen here on RF-51D 44-84840, Sweet Lorraine. On a mission on July 7, 1951, the aircraft was hit by ground fire; pilot 1st Lt Frank Ward baled out and the aircraft crashed and exploded near Yongson-ni.