Bureau No.: 97143
Date of Mfg: August 1945
Engine- Pratt & Whitney R2800, 18 cylinder, 2,650hp
Propeller- Hamilton Standard, four blade, 13' 2" diameter Top speed- 407kts (470mph)
Empty weight- 9,380 lbs
Maximum weight- 15,200 lbs
Maximum ceiling- 41,000 feet
Maximum fuel- 234 gallons internal, plus (2) 150 gallon drop tanks
Maximum range- 1,983 nautical miles (2,280 statue miles)
Oil capacity- 27 gallons
Armament- (6) .50 caliber machine guns with 2,400 rounds (8) 5" HVAR (high velocity aircraft rockets) (2) 1,000 lbs bombs or Napalm or 15" Tiny Tim rockets
The "Korean War Hero" F4U4 Corsair has a legendary history. She served two tours on two different carriers. She has the distinction of flying over 200 combat missions.
Squadron VF884 (Nose #416 in these photos)
June thru October 1951 Aboard the USS Boxer (CV21), VF884 Naval Reserve Squadron from Olathe, Kansas. This squadron was known as the "Bitter Birds" using the Kansas Jayhawk on their jacket patch. This exact aircraft was flown in combat by the following pilots:
We have in hand their logbook entries showing the types of missions flown and targets struck. While in Korea, The "Bitter Birds" flew 1,519 missions, dropping 750,000 lbs of bombs and firing 3,800 rockets, also 1,400,000 rounds of ammunition. The fighting did take its terrible toll. Eight pilots of VF884 were killed or listed as missing in action, including the squadron's skipper Lcdr. G.F. Carmichael USNR. Normal squadron compliment of pilots were approximately 22 to 24 pilots.
Squadron VF653 (Nose #308 in these photos)
December thru May 1951 Aboard USS Valley Forge (CV45), VF653 Naval Reserve Squadron from Akron, Ohio. This squadron patch emblem consisted of a dragon holding a shield which had a golden triangle and a checkerboard stripe. The golden triangle signified the large percentage of Pittsburgh area pilots in the squadron. The checkerboard stripe signified the winning of the Cleveland National Air Races twice by their Skipper Lt. Cmdr. Cook Cleland. Cook won both races with Corsairs. Many other pilots of VF653 previously flew in World War II.
"Korean War Hero" was flown by at least five VF653 pilots in combat:
Six pilots of VF653 were killed or listed as missing in action during this combat tour. The greatest toll was taken by enemy radar guided anti-aircraft guns while repeatedly striking the same targets.
From approximately 1960 to 1970, the aircraft flew with the Honduran Air Force. In 1970 was sold to an American Airline pilot and brought to the USA.
Joe & Jim Tobul bought this airplane in 1981 and started a very long rebuilding project. Ten (10) years later "Korean War Hero" proudly flew again on December 8, 1991 fittingly over the Pittsburgh skies.