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MEEKER | Lou Wyman of the Wyman Museum in Craig, Colo. has generously loaned an aircraft to the Meeker VFW for display purposes at the Meeker Veterans Community Center, in parades and at memorials. It is a half-scale replica of the famous WWII and Korean War era fighter aircraft designated as an F4U Corsair.
Pappy Boyington and his Marine fighter squadron flew Corsairs in the Pacific and were featured in the TV series “Baa Baa Black Sheep” that aired on NBC from 1976-1978.
From the first prototype delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1940 to final delivery in 1953 to the French, 12,571 were manufactured, in 16 separate models, in the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S.history (1942–53). Originally designed as a carrier-based fighter, the Corsair’s difficult handling and landing characteristics caused the Navy to begin to rely on the Grumman Hellcat instead. The Marine Corps benefited from this policy change, and its land-based units eagerly adopted the “bent-wing bird.” The famous Jolly Rogers, the Navy’s VF-17, also flew the Corsair during its tour in the Solomons. Late in the war, as the handling problems were resolved, both Marine and Navy pilots operated F4U’s from carrier decks. Its speed, firepower, maneuverability and ruggedness cause many to rate it with the Mustang as the best fighter plane of World War II.
This loaned aircraft is in being restored at Wade Bradfield’s Meeker Collision by members of the Meeker VFW, Auxiliary, American Legion and community members volunteering their time under Bradfield’s direction and assistance.