Operation Fox Able One
Sixty-five years ago this week, Lt. Col. David Schilling, 56th Fighter Group commander, led 16 of the group’s Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star aircraft east across the Atlantic Ocean. Called Operation Fox Able One for “Fighters Atlantic, Operation No. 1,” the operation was the first transoceanic jet fighter deployment in history.
Three weeks earlier, the Soviets had blockaded Berlin, Germany. This operation demonstrated the capabilities of the Americans to respond quickly to any threat in Europe.
Starting at Selfridge Air Force Base, Mich., the deployment stopped for fuel in Bangor, Maine; Goose Bay, Labrador; Bluie West 1/Narsarsuaq, Greenland; Meeks Field, Iceland; and Royal Air Force Stornaway, the Hebrides; before landing at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, England. The operation took ten days due to weather and stops. The aircraft then flew onto the airfield at Furstenfeldbruck, American Zone, Germany. In-flight refueling for fighter aircraft was still a couple of years away.