Air Force

January 24, 2014

This week in history

Jan. 22, 1944: Allies invade, take Anzio

Maj. Gen. Charles McCorkle

Seventy years ago, the Allies landed on the beaches at Anzio, Italy. The operation’s name was Operation Shingle. The 56th Fighter Group did not take part in the operation. But, the current 56th Fighter Wing has a number of connections to the battle.

To start with, 1943 had been good to the Allies. They seized North Africa following their first successful large amphibious landing there in late 1942. They invaded and took Sicily. After the Italian king arrested former Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, the Italian government signed a secret armistice with the Allies. While the Italian Army quit fighting, the German’s did not.

Then in three coordinated amphibious lands, the Allies invaded the Italian Peninsula with the main force landing near Salerno on the west coast. The invasion hit a snag near Monte Cassino, where the forces of German Air Field Marshal Albert Kesselring stymied those under U.S. Lt. Gen. Mark Clark. Kesselring was a worthy adversary. He had spent the first 27 years of his military service as an artillery officer.

Clark’s solution was a major assault on the German forces followed immediately by an amphibious landing at Anzio. U.S. Brig. Gen., John Lucas led Operation Shingle. The key to success was surprise and quickly securing the high ground around Anzio. The surprise was complete and the landings went unopposed. Unfortunately, Lucas decided to consolidate the landing area instead of immediately seizing the high ground.

Kesselring’s forces got there first, which turned Anzio into a five-month stalemate and led to Lucas’ firing.

Airpower played an important part before and during the operation. Its offensive counter air led to air superiority during the operation. Airpower blinded the Germans, isolated the landings, and provided close-air support during the landings, and the follow-on ground operations.

One of those flying units was the 31st Fighter Group flying North American P-51 Mustangs. The group flew patrol, escort and close-air support missions during the operation. Two of its squadrons now call Luke Air Force Base home, the 308th and 309th fighter squadrons.

Additionally, the commander of the 31st FG was Col. Charles McCorkle. He has other ties to the current 56th FW. His previous commands included what are now the 56th Training Squadron and the 364th FG. The 364th FG is the proposed unit designated to take charge of the wing’s F-16 operations at Holloman AFB, N.M.

McCorkle commanded the group during combat operations, defending the Aleutian Islands from the Japanese in 1942. After the war, McCorkle became an expert in guided missile operations. He served as vice commander of the Fifth Air Force. Later, he was the assistant deputy chief of staff/programs and resources at Headquarters Air Force. In 1966, he retired as a lieutenant general and passed away in 2009.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
square

Luke conducts first F-35 training deployment

Senior Airman Thomas Spangler A 61st Fighter Squadron F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis prior to take off April 15 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. Ten F-35s from the 61st Fighter Squadron were sent to Nellis for th...
 
 

The gift of leadership

Gen. Mark Welsh III may have said it best, “Leadership is a gift. It’s given by those who follow. You have to be worthy of it.” As the people of this nation give their children up to serve in the armed forces we as leaders need to be ready to lead them as they are...
 
 

Have faith in Air Force system

Throughout our Air Force careers, we have all received extensive training covering the Air Force core values — integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do. We talk about them on a daily basis in one capacity or another using them as buzz words to drive our point home or steer a...
 

 

Sidewinders fly missing-man formation

A missing-man formation flyover took place at the Air Force Academy Cemetery April 14, to honor a fallen Airman whose remains were repatriated and laid to rest. Pilots from the 311th Fighter Squadron of the 54th Fighter Group from Holloman Air Force Base, New Mexico, flew it. Capt. Richard Chorlins, U.S. Air Force Academy class...
 
 

Birth of a flagship

Courtesy photo An F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter taxis at Lockheed Martin’s Fort Worth, Texas, facility just before its first flight March 31. This jet is one of several Lightning IIs destined for Luke Air Force Base in the near future after flight testing. Tail number 5056 is scheduled to be the 56th Fighter...
 
 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

Days of Remembrance There will be a Holocaust remembrance ceremony at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Luke Air Force Base Chapel sanctuary. The Hiding Place exhibit will be on display 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 1 in the chapel annex. AFA golf tournament The 16th Annual Air...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin