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The Alaska Air National Guard Established September 19, 1952
On Jan. 27, 1957, the last operational P-51 Mustang fighter was retired to the Air Force museum. The P-51 destroyed more enemy aircraft than any other fighter in Europe during World War II, and the aircraft served in nearly every combat zone, including the Pacific where they escorted B-29s to Japan from Iwo Jima. Today, many of these fighters have been restored to the former glory and are on display in various aviation museums.
The P-51 began as the NA-73 in 1940 at Britain's request. The design showed promise and the Army Air Forces purchases of Allison-powered Mustangs began in 1941 primarily for photo reconnaissance and ground support use due to its limited high-altitude performance.
In 1942, tests of P-51s using the British Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine revealed much improved speed and service ceiling, and in December 1943, Merlin-powered P-51Bs first entered combat over Europe. Providing high-altitude escort to B-17s and B-24s, they scored heavily over German interceptors and by war's end, P-51s had destroyed 4,950 enemy aircraft in the air, more than any other fighter.
During 1941-45, the Army Air Forces ordered 14,855 Mustangs (including A-36A dive bomber and F-6 photo recon versions), of which 7,956 were P-51Ds. In 1948, the "P" for pursuit designation was changed to "F" for fighter. During the Korean War, the F-51 Mustang was in action once again. It was better suited to the small airstrips of Korea. The aircraft were based at Kimpo, Pusan and Pohang, flying out of one field then another in close support operations against the advancing North Koreans since the jet aircraft of the day did not have enough range to permit sufficient loiter time over the target. They were withdrawn from combat in 1953.
Source: Air Force Link
Alaska Air National Guard - 1941
The Alaska Air National Guard has a proud heritage steming directly from World War II and the U.S. Army Air Corps. On December 7, 1941 we had two future leaders of the Alaska Air National Guard involved in the attack on Pearl Harbor.
1. 1Lt Ken Taylor Sr. a P-51 pilot accreded with a number of Japinese kills would later become BG Ken Taylor Sr., Air Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard. In the 1990s BG Ken Taylor Sr's son would rise to BG Ken Taylor Jr., Air Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard.
2. Major General Conrad F. Necrason, a New York born West Pointer commanded the 7th Bombardment Group in the Far East during WWII and would serve Alaska longer than any other Adjutant General.
Major General Conrad F. Necrason was commander of the flight of B-17s enroute to Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941. They were assumed to be the large formation of aircraft tracked on radar early that Sunday morning. This formation turned out to be the carrier-based attack and fighter aircraft of Japan. The B-17s arrived later in the day and became the first B-17s to see combat in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. None of the B-17s had ammo on board and all were forced to land at various place throughout the island. Necrason landed his on the golf course.
Source: Air Force Link, Alaska Air National Guard archived documents and Soldiers of the Mists, Minutemen of the Alaska Frontier by C.A. Salisbury - 1991.