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.


 
 

 
Airman 1st Class James Hensley

Luke cuts ribbon on F-35 Academic Training Center

Airman 1st Class James Hensley Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, cuts the ceremonial ribbon Oct. 9 marking the completion of the academic training center building at Luke Air Force Base. The buildin...
 
 
Forino_J

U.S., Singapore partnership standout

Lt. Col. John Forino Aug. 9 marked the 49th anniversary of Singapore’s independence. The 425th Fighter Squadron is an operational squadron comprised of elite U.S. Air Force and Republic of Singapore air force personnel design...
 
 
shirts-graphicbw

‘Guts’ required to enforce standards

A few years ago, a fellow senior NCO requested I talk to her subordinate about her appearance, specifically pertaining to her hair. Naturally, I asked about what the issue was and why she couldn’t have a discussion with her o...
 

 
141008-F-HT977-008

Airmen get new ‘Community Commons’

Renovations on Bldg. 700, which houses the Health and Wellness Center, will take place April 2015 through spring 2016 at Luke Air Force Base. Subway and the barbershop will remain open during construction. Other amenities, such...
 
 

News Briefs October 17, 2014

Keep good mental health Calling all Airmen! Sleep disturbances such as insomnia and nightmares can affect people personally and professionally. Reaching out to a medical provider is a step in the right direction to good health. Courtesy of the 56th Medical Group Haunted house The 56th Mission Support Group is featuring Operation: Haunted Block House...
 
 

THUNDERBOLT OF THE WEEK

Jessica Behrens 56th Medical Support Squadron Pharmacist Hometown: Seneca, Missouri Years in service: Three Family: Husband, Chris; daughter, Katelyn, 2; son, Levi, 5 months Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Arkansas and doctor of pharmacy from Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska Previous assignments: Pensacola Naval Air Station, Florida; Vance Air Force Base, Oklahoma; Spring...
 




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