“Hotrod” Jug
Flight Journal|Annual 2020
By the time this limited-production high-performance version of Maj. Michael Jackson’s Teddy was photographed in early spring 1945 at Boxted, the 56th FG had been operating with Thunderbolts for almost three years. Initially constituted in November 1940 as the 56th Pursuit Group, with three Squadrons (61st, 62nd and 63rd) operating a mix of training aircraft and basing, they were posted in scattered locations in defense of New York City in early 1942. With the 63rd actually based at Republic’s Farmingdale factory, it was a natural for the 56th to be tapped to be the premier Thunderbolt unit in May 1942.
Stan Piet

Training and wringing out operational problems throughout the rest of the year, the 56th and attached service groups transited the “pond” along with 11,000 other servicemen on the RMS Queen Elizabeth in early January 1943 to their first base at Kings Cliffe in the UK. From there, the 56th’s history is legendary: operating initially alongside the 4th and 78th FGs, they pioneered fighter-escort missions for the 8th Bomber Command, keeping that type and mission throughout the war.

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By the time this limited-production high-performance version of Maj. Michael Jackson’s Teddy was photographed in early spring 1945 at Boxted, the 56th FG had been operating with Thunderbolts for almost three years. Initially constituted in November 1940 as the 56th Pursuit Group, with three Squadrons (61st, 62nd and 63rd) operating a mix of training aircraft and basing, they were posted in scattered locations in defense of New York City in early 1942. With the 63rd actually based at Republic’s Farmingdale factory, it was a natural for the 56th to be tapped to be the premier Thunderbolt unit in May 1942.

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