B-26Ks to the Congo

Received the Air Commando Journal today and was immediately attracted to the article on the B-26Ks in the Congo. I was also there in the summer of 1964 as a C-130E navigator from the 777 Troop Carrier Squadron, 464th TCW, Pope AFB, NC. We were part of JTF Leo made up of four C-130Es and five crews plus a maintenance contingent and a platoon from the 82nd Airborne for security. We spent three weeks there in June with JTF Leo and then were back in November as part of Operation Dragon Rouge with a squadron of C-130Es and a Belgian Paracommando unit that the USAF C-130s dropped on Stanleyville and Paulus to rescue hostages taken by the Simba rebels. The 464 TCW received the McKay Trophy for Dragon Rouge. We weren’t Air Commandos but the Troop Carrier crews of that era were the next best thing. Shortly after this we started receiving silver “Combat Talons” at Pope and flew them as airlifters until they went back to Lockheed and then came back as black birds. To the point about the B-26Ks. We saw them both at Leopoldville and atKamena where we saw what appeared to be training taking place – practice strafing runs on a range next to the field. There seemed to be a USAF major in an unmarked flight suit in charge plus the Cuban pilots.
William L. Whitaker,
Col, USAF (Ret)
HQ AFSOC/LG 1991-92
ACA Life Member 0095

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