Northrop P-61/F-15 Black Widow

Operational Units page 5

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9th U.S. Army Air Force

Order: tactical bombing raids over occupied Europe 

71th Fighter Group
The 71FG was a direct reporting unit to the IX FIGHTER COMMAND

422nd Night Fighter Squadron

425th Night Fighter Squadron

1944, July - the 422 as first P-61 equipped unit arriving in UK, flew the first Night Fighter Mission (from Hurn)
1944, July   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   Ford, England, UK

P-61A-5-NO (42-5547) "Borrowed Time"
Pilot: 1st Lt. Herman Ernst
Radar Operator:
2Lt Edward Kopsel
Fate: DBR at Florennes, Belgium Dec 2, 1944.
Condemned salvage no battle damage Dec 4, 1944
1944, Post D-Day   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   Charmy Down, Scorton, Yorks

P-61A-5-NO (42-5536) "Husslin Hussey"
One of the First P-61 in the ETO.
Fate: to excess inventory list Jun 1, 1946

P-61A-10-NO (42-5565) "Double Trouble"
1st Lt. Robert Bolinger (4 Kills)
Radar Operator: 2nd Lt. Robert F. Graham
The first P-61A-10-NO. Contrary to most other P-61s, this one had the data block and tail number in white rather than red.
This particular P-61 is one of the most photographed Black Widows and clearly shows the application of invasion stripes.
Fate: w/o in landing accident at Liege, Belgium Apr 26, 1945.
Condemned salvage Apr 2, 1946
1944, Post D-Day   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   England

P-61A-5-NO (42-5558) "No Love, No Nothing"
CO Lt. Col. O. B. Johnson
Radar Operator:
Fate: crew bailed out due to fuel starvation over England Dec 28, 1944.
Condemned salvage no battle damage Dec 28, 1944
1944   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   Chateaudun, France

P-61A-5-NO (42-5543) "Tennessee Ridge Runner"
Pilot: Lieutenant John W. Anderson
Radar Operator:
Lieutenant James W. Mogan
Chateaudun, France
Fate: w/o in landing accident at Gotha, Germany, May 9, 1945.
To excess inventory list Jun 1, 1946

P-61A-5 (42-5544) "Lady GEN"
Lieutenant Paul A. Smith
Radar Operator:
Flown by at least two crews. This example is the first crew that racked up the rather impressive scoreboard seen here. Later it was flown by Captain Leonard F. Koehler, but it didn't add anything to its score under his command. Perhaps that was because they removed the upper turret with the new crew, but more likely it was because of the total lack of Luftwaffe opposition at night during the last stages of the war.
France 1944
 Fate: w/o in landing accident at Kassel, Germany Jun 5, 1945.
Condemned salvage no battle damage Jun 5, 1945
1944, post D-Day   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   Etain, France, late 1944

P-61A-5-NO (42-5564) "Jukin Judy"
Lieutenant Eugene Lee
Radar Operator:
Lt Donald Doyle
Fate: condemned MIA Dec 27, 1944
The last P-61A-5-NO

P-61A-10-NO(?) (42-9569) "Tabitha"
Pilot: Capt. Hardin Ross
Radar Operator:
Crashed on October 27, 1944. At the time it was being flown by Lt. Bruce Hefling and F/O Bill Broach, both of whom were killed in the crash.
1945   -  Northrop P-61A BLACK WIDOW   -   A-58 (Coulommiers), France
P-61A-10 (42-5580) "Wabash Cannon-Ball IV"
Pilot: Major Leon Gilly Lewis (Squadron Commander)
Radar Operator:
Named after the train that ran between Detroit and St. Louis and for which that country song was written.
A-58 (Coulommiers), France
condemned salvage May 24, 1946

5th U.S. Army Air Force


Order: Patrol the south-west Pacific Ocean

547th Night Fighter Squadron

 Activated March 1944 with P-61. Served in New Guinea, Philippines, Ie Shima, Japan.

1944, March   -   Northrop P-61B-1 BLACK WIDOW   -   New Guinea

- -

1944   -   Northrop P-61B-1-NO BLACK WIDOW   -   Philippines

The B variant had 4 pylons, while the A could only carry two tanks.
The B also had a slightly longer nose and other propellers.

P-61B-1-NO (42-39403) ''Times a'wastin''
One of only two of the first 200 P-61B's to retain the dorsal four-gun turret,
this not being revived until Block 15 when buffering problems associated with the guns were cured.

P-61B-1-NO (42-39440) ''Swing Shift Skipper''
Lt. Arthur Bourque

Lingayen Airstrip, Philippines

1944   -   Northrop P-61B-2 BLACK WIDOW   -   Ie Shima

- -

1945   -   Northrop P-61B-20 BLACK WIDOW   -   Japan

- -
Inactivated February 1946

418th Night Fighter Squadron

Received Black Widow in September 1944

The leading Black Widow crew in the Pacific was the pair Major Carrol C. Smith (pilot) and Lt. Philip B. Porter (radar operator) of the 418th Night Fighter Squadron, who destroyed five Japanese aircraft.

1944, September   -   Northrop P-61B-15 BLACK WIDOW   -   New Guinea

1945   -   Northrop P-61B-15 BLACK WIDOW   -   Philippines


 1947, February   -   Inactivated but reactivated August 1948 as 4th All Weather Squadron.



421sth Night Fighter Squadron

 Received Black Widow June 1944

1944, September   -   Northrop P-61B-15 BLACK WIDOW   -   New Guinea


1945   -   Northrop P-61B-20-NO BLACK WIDOW   -   Philippines

P-61B-20-NO (43-8257) ''Monnie''

5AF, Philippines 1945
which unit exactly?

 1947, February   -   Inactivated but reactivated august 1948 as 68th All Weather Squadron



6th Night Fighter Squadron

On a circular orange field, a gray skull outlined in black forming the hub of a shaded four-blade spinning propeller done in black
Motto: None. (Approved 8 July 1924)
1943, May   -   Douglas P-70   -   3 Mile Airstrip, Port Moresby, New Guinea

P-70 (39-768
Pilot: Lt. Fred Secord
Det. A, 6th NFS

Received Black Widows in May 1944 (1st unit in PTO). Served in Guadalcanal, New Guinea, Saipan, Iwo Jima.

1944   -   Northrop P-61A-1-NO BLACK WIDOW (dull black)   -   Isley Field, Saipan

P-61A-1 (42-5525)  ''Midnight Belle''
Captain Mark E. Martin
Radar Observer:
Lt. Wesley L. Reynolds
Crew Chief: Cpl. Hank Sengstock

1944, mid-late   -   Northrop P-61A-1 BLACK WIDOW   -   Isley Field, Saipan

P-61A-1 (42-5526) ''Nightie Mission''
Pilot: 2nd Lt. Jerome M. Hanson
Radar Observer:
2nd Lt.William K. Wallace
Crew Chief:
S/Sgt. Apsiforme
(mid 1944)

P-61A-1 (42-5527)  ''Moon Happy''

Pilot: 1st Lt Dale F. 'Hap' Haberman

Radar Observer: F/O Raymond P. Mooney
Gunner: Sgt Patrick J. Farelley

Crew Chief: S/Sgt. Antkowiak
(Shot down four Japanese Betty bombers, late 1944)

P-61A-1 (42-5528) 
''Jap Batty''
Pilot: 1st Lt. Francis Eaton (known as “Lil Ab”)
Radar Observer:
2nd Lt. James Ketchum (known as “The Chief”)
S/Sgt. William S. Anderson III
Crew Chief: Cpl. Dustin

1944, late december   -   Northrop P-61A-5 BLACK WIDOW (glossy black)   -   Isley Field, Saipan

P-61A-5 (42-5554)  ''The Virgin Widow''
2Lt. Robert L. Ferguson,
Radar Observer:
2Lt. Charles A. Ward
Sgt. LeRoy F. Miozzi
Crew Chief:
S/Sgt Chmura
Shot down one Japanese Betty Bomber

Inactivated February 1947 and reactivated as 339th All Weather Squadron




548th Night Fighter Squadron

Activated April 1944 with P-61. Served in Saipan, Iwo Jima, Ie Shima.

1945, April   -   Northrop P-61B-1 BLACK WIDOW   -   Iwo Jima

P-61B-1 (42-39403) ''The Spook''
 Pilot: Lt. Melvin Bode

Radar Observer: Lt Avery J Miller

Gunner: SSgt John Hope
(Destroyed in crash landing at Iwo Jima in fog, 4/20/45)

P-61B-1 (42-39405) ''Anonymous III''
Originally issued to 6th NFS  - where it flew as ''Victory Model''
transferred to 548th NFS on 7/23/45

1945, Spring   -   Northrop P-61B-2 BLACK WIDOW   -   Iwo Jima

P-61B-2 (42-39408) ''Lady in the Dark''
Pilot: Solie Solomon (renamed Lee Kennell after the war)
Radar Observer:
Lt. John Scheerer
S/Sgt. James Skiles
Crew Chief:
Sgt. Matthew J. Lux
April 1945, Iwo Jima
(Made the final two aerial kills of WW II-both without firing a shot)

P-61B-2 (42-39454) ''Coopers Snooper''
Pilot: 1Lt George C. Cooper
Radar Observer: (Unknown rank)
Stanley E. Babst
SSgt Roy J. Ross
Spring 1945, Iwo Jima

1945, August   -   Northrop P-61B-2 BLACK WIDOW   -   Ie Shima


Inactivated December 1945. Reactivated in 1969 as the 548th Combat Training Squadron. Still in service.




549th Night Fighter Squadron

Activated May 1944 with P-61. Served on Saipan, Iwo Jima.

1944, May   -   Northrop P-61B-6 BLACK WIDOW   -   Saipan

P-61B-6 (42-39543)
Assigned to 549th NFS on 1/28/44,
transferred to Clark AAFld for storage and then placed back on active flying with the 4th FS (AW) on 4/30/47.
Note: red cowlflaps and spinner are wrong here!
Kipapa Gulch, Hawaii 20 Oct 44 to 15 Feb 45
Siapan 20 Feb 45 to 20 Mar 45
14 Mar 45 to 25 Sep 45
Iwo Jima 20 Mar 45 to 5 Feb 46

1945, March 14   -   Northrop P-61B-15 BLACK WIDOW   -   Det.(Ground Echelon) Iwo Jima


 1946, February 5   -   Inactivated at Iwo Jima





550th Night Fighter Squadron

Activated June 1944. Received first Black Widows January 1945. Served in New Guinea, Philippines.

1945   -   Northrop P-61B-1 BLACK WIDOW   -   Morotai

P-61B-1 (42-39468)  ''Moonlight Serenade''

 1946, January   -   Inactivated


13th Army Air Force

HQ: South West Pacific
Order: Cover the south-west Pacific Ocean

419th Night Fighter Squadron

Received Black Widow in May 1944.
Served in New Guinea, Philippines.

1944   -   Northrop P-61A-1 BLACK WIDOW

(This aircraft was lost over the South Pacific on April 10, 1945)

Inactivated February 1947