1/72 Revell F-101B Voodoo

Gallery Article by John "Johnopfor" Lanning on Mar 10 2010


F-101B Voodoo, North Dakota ANG, 1975

The F-101B Voodoo is the two seat interceptor version of the single seat F-101A fighter-bomber. The F-101B was intended as a stop-gap interceptor to replace earlier subsonic jet aircraft such as the F-89 Scorpion and F-94 Starfire until the F-102 Delta Dagger could enter service. The front fuselage was redesigned for the two-man crew and the Hughes MG-13 fire control radar. The main armament originally consisted of 4 AIM-4 Falcon air-to-air missiles on a rotating weapons pallet, but a later update allowed it to carry two AIR-2 Genie nuclear tipped missiles in place of two of the Falcons. The F-101B was powered by a pair of more powerful Pratt & Whitney J57-P-55 engines that replaced the original J57-P-13s that was standard on the F-101A/C series, resulting with a much longer afterburning cans that extend far from the rear of the aircraft. From 1961 to 1966, the F-101B fleet was modified with an IRST sensor above the nose in front of the cockpit. By the end of production in 1961, 479 F-101Bs were produced and supplied to US Air Defense Command and 56 supplied to Canada. With the exception of bomber escorts missions off of the North American coasts, the F-101B saw no combat and by 1972, all active Air Force units had converted from the Voodoo and passed them on the the National Guard units of New York, Maine, North Dakota, Oregon, Minnesota and Washington. The last ANG unit converted from the Voodoo in 1982.

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The 178th Fighter Bomber Squadron (now 178th Airlift Support Squadron), 119th Wing was formed at Hector Field, Fargo, North Dakota on January 16, 1947 with the P-51D Mustang. In April of 1951, the unit was called up for active duty and transferred to the Strategic Air Command, first as a bomber escort unit at Moody AFB, Georgia, then as a fighter-bomber unit at George AFB in California. The unit was released back to the state on December 31, 1952. From then, they became the 178th Fighter Interceptor Squadron. In 1954, they were transferred to Air Defense Command, and entered the jet age with the F-94 Starfire. The unit operated the F-89 Scorpion and F-102A Delta Dagger, but from 1969 until 1977, they flew the F-101B. After that, they operated the F-4D Phantom and from 1990 until 2007, flew the F-16 Falcon. The "Happy Hooligans" flew CAP missions over Washington DC just after the 911 attacks, but the units greatest claim to fame is a 36 year safety record. Since 1973, the 178th had no Class A mishaps, a record unmatched anywhere in the US Military. The unit currently flies the C-21 Lear Jet and MQ-1 Predator, but there are plans for them to convert over to the C-27 Spartan in the near future.

So, how did the "Happy Hooligans" get their name? It supposedly began with the unit's commander Brig. Gen. Duane S. Larson who was nicknamed "Pappy", but he reportedly resembled and cartoon character "Happy Easter". The men of the 178th were referred to as "The Hooligans" due to their mischievous behavior. "Pappy" became "Happy and his Hooligans", which was shortened to "Happy Hooligans". According to lore, the nickname really took hold when members of the unit began dumping officers out of their beds after the O-club closed for the night at Volk Field during the 1950s. As punishment, the unit was forced to march on the field the next day. That morning, the 119th Group Commander, Col. Marsh Johnson, called the Squadron a bunch of Hooligans to which someone answered "We might be Hooligans but we are Happy Hooligans." "Happy Hooligans" was adopted by the unit as it's official nickname during the 1960s and was first spotted painted on the unit's F-89J Scorpions in 1964. Since then, that motif was painted on the tail of all of their aircraft.

The kit used is the 1/72 scale Revell F-101B Voodoo kit, built out of the box, with decals from the old Matchbox kit and other decals from the spares box.

John "Johnopfor" Lanning

Photos and text by John "Johnopfor" Lanning