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c/n 300
51-16515 with interesting unit markings. *
Photo: Leo J. Kohn © date unknown - Wayne Mutza Collection - Aird Archives

c/n 300

51-16515

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51-16515 USAF #1112. L-20 No: 113. Command AF-1. Delivered 24-Jun-1952. Built as L-20A and re-designated U-6A in 1962.

Fate unknown

USAF History

51-16515 was made available on 10-Jun-1952, accepted on the same day by the 6600th Air Depot AMO (Air Material Overseas Unit), at Downsview, Ontario and assigned to the Tactical Air Command. It was delivered to Pope Air Force Base, NC, on 24-Jun-1952 and the 4th Liaison Flight. . This was the first Beaver scheduled to join the Air Forces Europe Command and in consequence the aircraft was assigned to the Air force Material Command and was moved to the 2847th Transportation Control Depot (TPC) Wing at Newark, New Jersey which was the embarkation point for smaller aircraft being transhipped to Europe.

It arrived in France at Chateauroux Déols AFB., and was allocated to the 7373rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at the 73rd Air Depot Wing on 04-Jun-1954 remaining until 12-Aug-1954. Whilst there it allowed many of the aircrew who were performing non flying jobs to retain their proficiency. It then moved to the UK and to RAF Bentwaters, Suffolk and the 81st Fighter Bomber Wing. In March 1955 it was deployed to RAF Shepherds Grove, near to Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk but stayed for only a month before a further deployment to RAF Manston, Kent occurred on 24-May-1955 lasting until 24-Oct-1956. Following this period of deployment it was sent to Air Material Unit at Vergiate Italy operated by the Macchi Aircraft Company (now Aermacchi) for maintenance until 07-Mar-1957 after which it returned to its former unit at Manston. Shortly after this it transferred to the 406th Fighter Interceptor Wing. A couple of other transfers between the two units saw it end its relationship with Manston on 20-Feb-1958 as it returned to Bentwaters with the 81st FB Wing. This was short lived as it then moved, literally up the road to RAF Wethersfield, Essex (the county boundary between Essex and Suffolk runs between the airfields) to join the 20th Fighter Bomber Wing on 28th May-1958, and was re designated as a Tactical Fighter Wing on 08-July of the same year.

A period back with the 81st followed now designated as 81st Tactical Fighter Wing with a series of deployments between Shepherds Grove, Bentwaters, and Wethersfield until 11-Sep-1959.

Emblem of 81st Tactical Fighter Wing

RAF Alconbury, was a new location where the aircraft was allocated to the 10th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing until 23-Mar-1960. Following this allocation a move to sunny Spain transpired with an assignment to the Strategic Air Command and the 3794th Combat Support Group at Zaragoza in North East Spain. . This lasted until 25-Feb-1963 after which the aircraft was shipped to the Logistic Command’s facility at the Fairchild Aircraft Company, Hagerstown, MD. It remained here for a period of three months before returning to Spain on 22-May-1963.

The remaining USAF history of this aircraft is still to be researched.

*The unit emblem is of the 92nd Fighter Squadron,  a part of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing.

In 1951 it was assigned to Shepard’s Grove, England, but soon moved to RAF Bentwaters, Suffolk. The unit remained there until the base closed in 1993.

Information from: John Boyle, Major, USAF, retired (Former 81st TFW Chief of Public Affairs).

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