The Douglas A-26 was designed as a medium attack bomber replacement for the B-25’s and Martin B-26’s of pre World War II vintage. The Douglas A-26 saw combat in every theater of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. It was redesignated a Douglas B-26 in 1948 after the retiring of all Martin B-26 Marauders. There were 226 aircraft lost in the Korean War where the Invader performed night harassment missions. It was the last aircraft to bomb North Korea, dropping a bomb load just 3 minutes before the cease-fire was signed. Several A-26’s were supplied to Cuban revolutionaries during the Bay of Pigs.
The aircraft at the March Field Museum is a C model serial number 44-35224. It was built by Douglas Aircraft in Tulsa, Oklahoma and delivered to the Army Air Force on 26 March 1945. In April 1945 it departed the U.S. to an unknown location Later it flew with the 4255th, 4160th and 4117th Base Units and then the 107th and 122nd Bomb Squadrons. In 1952 it went to Japan and then to the 13th Bomb Squadron, 3rd Bomb Wing at Kunsan Air Base, Korea, where it flew combat missions. In 1954 it returned to Japan and in 1955, back to storage in Arizona. It was retired from Air Force inventory in June 1958.
In 1981, it was flown to the museum from Arizona and in 1999 the aircraft was restored and painted in the markings of the 3rd Bomb Wing, 13th Bomb Squadron in which it flew in the Korean War. This aircraft is on loan from the USAF.
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According to the Air Force Historical Research Agency (AFHRA/RSA), Maxwell AFB, AL, the museum’s A-26C has the following history:
A-26C-30, s/n 44-35224
Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, Tulsa OK and delivered to the USAAF on 26 Mar 1945.
Mar 1945 - To Hunter AAF GA
Apr 1945 - Departed US for Eighth Air Force, European Theater of Operations
Jul 1945 - To 4255th AAF Base Unit (Air Materiel Command), Grenada AAF MS (storage)
Dec 1945 - To 4160th AAF Base Unit (AMC), Hobbs AAF NM (storage)
Feb 1947 - To 4117th AAF Base Unit (AMC), Robins AAF GA (storage)
Jan 1948 - To 107th Bombardment (Light) Squadron (Air National Guard), Detroit-Wayne County AP MI (to B-26C)
Jan 1951 - To 112th Bombardment (L) Squadron (ANG), New Orleans AP LA
Apr 1951 - To 122nd Bombardment (L) Squadron (ANG), Langley AFB VA
Apr 1952 - To Ogden Air Materiel Area, Hill AFB UT
Aug 1952 - 6400th Air Depot Wing (Far East Air Force), Tachikawa AB Japan
Oct 1952 - To 3rd Bombardment (L) Wing (FEAF), Kunsan AB Korea and Miho AB Japan
Oct 1954 - Unit moved to Johnson AB Japan (deployments to Kunsan AB and Futema AB Japan)
Dec 1955 - To Southern Air Materiel Center (AMC), Kisarazu AB Japan
Mar 1956 - To Sacramento Air Materiel Area, Clark AB Philippines
Apr 1956 - To 3040th Aircraft Storage Squadron (AMC), Davis-Monthan AFB AZ
Jul 1958 - Dropped from inventory as surplus
Category: Airplanes - Classic Aircraft