Black Twins over Korea
Designed to replace the trusty P-61 Black Widow, the F-82 Twin Mustang was a true thoroughbred with a performance far superior to the short-lived Widow. By 1948 the P-61 had all but disappeared. In its place were the new F-82F and G all-weather fighters. The first unit to receive the F-82G was the 347th FW(AW) under control of the Far East Air Force. With between 40 and 50 F-82s on strength the 347th FW(AW) was deactivated on June 24, 1950 – one day before the Korean War started!
At 04.00hrs on June 25, 1950 North Korean forces crossed the 38th Parallel. The 347th was quickly reactivated and that same day the F-82Gs of the 6th F(AW)S were scrambled. Making full use of their SCR-720C radar they returned with confirmation. From that point forward the small number of F-82Gs based in Japan provided the retreating Allied forces with air cover and ground attack support. Not designed for such missions the crews who flew the F-82Gs in those early days did sterling work.
The first North Korean fighter shot down occurred on June 27 when an F-82G from the 68th F(AW)S shot down a two seat Yak-7UTI.
On June 28th, all available F-82s were ordered to fly ground attack missions. The F-82G could carry up to 4,000lb of weaponry. On one sortie a mixed bag of F-82Gs, A-26s and F-80s destroyed nearly 120 trucks, 38 tanks and seven personnel carriers. But it wasn’t enough. By the end of the day the North Korean army had broken through to Seoul. President Truman gave the order to evacuat. For the next few days and nights F-82Gs and F-80s provided the vital air cover needed for a safe and successful evacuation.