When war hit the Korean Peninsula, the UN was in dire need for recon aircraft. At Itazuka AB, Japan, the 45th TRS was activated on September 3rd 1950, as part of the 67th TRW. The 67th was stationed at Kimpo and had through the war varying aircraft types for its mission including the RB-26, RF-80, RF-86 and the RF-51. The 45th was the sole user of the Mustang and would be tasked to cover the frontline with photographic and visual recon. The squadron initially flew out of (K-2) Tague easily covering their frontline targets with F-51D’s. Other F-51D’s were in conversion in Japan with the initial RF-51D’s available in November 1950, with the unit flying both versions of the Mustang.
The squadron rewrote the book used by tactical recon squadrons, that was geared to assist jet fighter-bombers that had limited loiter time over the targets. Because of the vulnerability of the Mustang to ground fire at low level, a change in tactics occurred around April 1951, moving from 1 ship to 2 ship Mustang formations. This allowed a pilot to survey the territory while the other at a higher altitude could look out for areas of heavy ground fire. At times the danger to Mustangs was high, resulting in 4 ship formation stacked at varying altitudes.
As the war continued the 45th, known as the “Polka Dot” squadron, commanded by Col. Chickering from October of 1951, started to retire the very war weary Mustangs late in 1951 for RF-80’s.
Two tragedies hit the 45th, the loss of their commander Col. Prolifka on July 1, 1951, when he bailed out of his stricken Mustang only to have his chute tangle in the tail assembly and crash with his plane. The other is that of Capt. William K. Mauldin. On Feb. 21, 1952, Mauldin departed K-2 on a reconnaissance mission in the North, flying RF-913 “Tulie, Scotty and ?”. While over Odong-ni, his RF-51 was hit by enemy fire and crashed near Sinan-ri. An aerial search of the crash site was conducted that day and the next, but found no evidence that he escaped before the crash, thus being declared MIA. Between 1991 and 1994 North Korea courageously returned the remains of US service men in about 200 boxes, as reported by Pentagon spokesman Larry Greer. One set of remains included fragments of life-support equipment, which investigators learned had been recovered from the crash site near Sinan-ri. That evidence led investigators to think the remains were Mauldin’s, later being positively identified as his through DNA samples.
With full military honors, Capt. William K. Mauldin, U.S. Air Force, of Pickens, S.C. was buried on July 18, 2008 in Easley, S.C.
See this website for further information: http://steeljawscribe.com/2008/07/19/pilot-missing-in-action-from-the-korean-war-is-identified
images below to see larger images
This is a Monogram 1/48th P-51. I had been waiting a long time a RF-51 kit in 1/48 to be produced by someone, however Quick-Boost came to my rescue by providing camera ports to create an RF-51. Not wanting to cut up an expensive Hasegawa or Tamiya model I opted for the less expensive and older Monogram.
In the end the aircraft worked up to be quite a good model. I did have a booboo on the underside camera port just in front to the tail wheel. The plastic fractured off when drilling it out and had to do some filling in.
Used Model Masters Silver, Sea Blue and Yellow spray’s and hand painted the interior. Over coating with Testors semi-gloss spray.
I had waited a long time to use my AeroMaster 48-099, Mustangs over Korea, decals I purchased back in the mid 90’s for this RF-51.The set includes an F-51 from the 12th
FBS, and ROKAF markings for Maj. Dean Hess’s aircraft. The decals went on fine with no issues. The dots were in several groupings that were used on the wings, with many individual dots for the propeller nose and other areas to fill in, also using them on the pilot’s helmet.
I hope I got the information correct on the 45th and this pilot. Information obtained from AeroMaster Decals, Osprey Frontline Color “F-51 Mustangs units over Korea” and “The State Newspaper” article by Chuck Crumbo
Mark L. Rossmann