456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron

456 FIS 'Luther'

Wing / Group:
Air Division: 26 Air Division
Location(s): Castle AFB, Atwater CA
Dates Active: 6 Sep 1959 - 09 July 1968
Alert Det's:
No. of Aircraft: 67
No. of Loses: 2
Complete Unit History: PDF file
The 456th FIS was activated at George AFB, CA in August 1954 with F-86D's.  In August 1955 the unit was deactivated only to be reactivated again at Castle AFB in October 1955 with F-86Ds. In the fall of 1957 the unit transitioned into F-86Ls and in June 1958 into F-102As.  In September 1959 it received F-106A's.  The squadron along with its distinctive tail flash color markings moved to Oxnard AFB on 18 July 1968 and was re-designated the 437th FIS.
456th FIS header logo
  In Memory of ROBERT 'BOB' JUSTUS 
"Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, there you long to return"
- Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
The History of the 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron can be described in very few words "RAPID CHANGE". Originally constituted as "the 456th Fighter Squadron" on October 15, 1944 at Seymour Johnson Air Field, NC; then moved to Selfridge Air Field, MI on November 21, 1944; and then to Bluethenthal Air Field, NC on March 19 until June 5, 1945 before being reassigned to North Field, Iwo Jima as part of the 414th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing, of the 20th Air Force, on July 7, 1945; and then again on December 23, 1945 to Clark Field and Florida Blance Field, Luzon in the Philippines; where it was finally deactivated on August 25, 1946.    Read More...
arrow icon 2013 'ALL F-106' Reunion at Wright Patterson AFB, Dayton, OH
arrow icon 2012 456th Mini-Reunion at the Castle Air Museum
arrow icon 2011 456th Reunion at the Castle Air Museum
arrow icon 2010 456th Reunion in Colorado Springs
arrow icon All Reunions
arrow icon Next Reunion / Reunion News
Maj Kenneth Taylor 1944-1946
Maj James Macefield 1954-1955
LtCol Lee Lambert 1955-1957
LtCol Wm. 'Red' Miller 1957-1959
LtCol Roy Tweedie 1959-1960
LtCol James L. Price 1960-1963
LtCol John (Buck) Rogers 1963-1964
LtCol Wm. C. Jackson 1964-1966
LtCol John C. Marcotte 1966-1968
LtCol Jake Kratt 1st Commander Det 1 Fresno
LtCol Ted Feasel Commander Det 1 Fresno

CAM Display icon
Visit 'Luther' 58-0793 On-display at the CAM, 57-2456 painted as 58-0793, 456th FIS

Visit the CASTLE AIR MUSEUM, Atwater, CA

August 11, 1967: 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron sets ADC and US Air Force Records with 106 Missions in 6 Hours and only 18 aircraft
Newspaper articles & pictures from THE VALLEY BOMBER & THE MERCED SUN
courtesy of Tom Kline, February 17, 2003
"Now I really can't remember just who thought up the idea of flying 106 missions in 6 hours but it sure sounded like a good idea to me. Since the birds were going in for the modification of the IR System and the installation of the In-flight Refueling it sounded so logical that I gave some serious consideration to it. Six weeks with nothing to fly and all that time on our hands just begged for some sort of outstanding event to take place. I remember talking it over with Bob Colgan and Bunchy Plowden.

"Pat Gillespie, Buckey, Russ Greenberg, Bob Velle and Dale Chance. They were enthusiastic about the idea so I went to the maintenance shack ( Hell I lived there about half the time) and ran it up the flag pole. Most of the guys saluted and there were very few negative comments.

"We decided to start at 06:00 and progress from there with a call off time of 10:00 if it looked as if we couldn't make the target. Even the orderly room was in on it. They carried sandwiches and drinks too the flight line and made them selves useful wherever they could. The hardest part of the operation was deciding who would fly the T-33 as target, which took 4 crews ,since there was to be no time to switch targets and a constant stream of 106's would be airborne.

Merced Sun 12 Aug 1967
"We finally solved that by using B A Hansen in one and Bud Gresham in the other. This left the flight line a little short of officers but I had every confidence in our maintenance chaps. That was one decision that I never lived to regret. Servicing was complete and timely and cheerfully executed.

"Probably the one thing that I over looked was the development of the radar film and the grading of it. Poor Chuck Masuga and Bob Plowden did not get thru with the chore until 14:00.

"I never did go to NORAD or DIVISION or for that matter to the Sector. I figured that they would find 1,000 reasons why it couldn't be accomplished. So on my own we just pressed ahead. At about 11:40 the 106th mission landed, I think it was Peachy Keene, ( who damn near broke the sound barrier turning initial ) I decided to spread the news a little. Maintenance came up with 4 birds and we took to the skies bound for Hamilton AFB. However once there the tower denied us a low pass so all we could do was wave a little at them.

"I was fortunate enough to command the 433rd squadron in South East Asia and we flew a total of 746 combat sorties in 30 days but the feeling of accomplishment I had the day of the 106 missions was never challenged. To give a little perspective to this WE ONLY LOST ONE BIRD in the 3 years that I was there. That says a HELL of a lot for the quality of the maintenance guys that slaved and sweated and produced a quality product.

Lt. Colonel John C. Marcotte, U.S. Air Force (Retired)
Last Commanding Officer of the 456th. F.I.S.


456th FIS Website

Pat Perry's 456th Newsletters:
2010 Jan   Newsletter #14
2009 April Newsletter #13
2008 Jan Reunion/Challenge Coin
2007 NovNewsletter #12
2006 Feb Newsletter #11
2005 AugNewsletter #10
2005 Feb  Newsletter #9
2005 Jun: Just News
2004 Nov: Reunion
2004 AugNewsletter # 8
2004 Jan Newsletter # 7
2003 AugNewsletter # 6
2003 MarNewsletter # 5
2003 FebNewsletter # 4
2002 NovNewsletter # 3
2002 AugNewsletter # 2

456 FIS

arrow icon F-106 Convair "Delta Dart"
arrow icon F-102 Convair "Delta Dagger"
arrow icon F-86 North American "Saber Jet"

456 FS

arrow icon F-80 Lockheed "Shooting Star"
arrow icon P-51 North American "Mustang"
arrow icon P-47 Republic "Thunderbolt"
arrow icon P-38 Lockheed "Lightning"
100 Missions in 6 Hours
William Tell 1961 - WINNERS!
Change of Command 1963
Historical Photos over the years
delta wing The delta-wing is a wing platform in the form of a large triangle. Its use was pioneered by Alexander Lippisch prior to WWII in Germany, but none of his designs entered service. After the war the delta became the favored design for high-speed use, and was used almost to exclusion of other planforms by Convair [ The Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, universally known as Convair, was the result of a 1943 merger between Consolidated Aircraft and Vultee Aircraft, resulting in a leading aircraft manufacturer of the United States. In 1954, Convair merged with Electric Boat to form General Dynamics, and the aircraft operation became the Convair Division of the merged company. It produced aircraft until 1965 then shifted to space and airframe projects, continuing until 1996, when the division was entirely shut down. ] in the United States and Dassault in France. In early use delta-winged aircraft were often found with no other horizontal control surfaces, creating a tailless design, but most modern versions use a canard [ In aeronautics, canard (French for duck is a type of fixed-wing aircraft in which the tailplane is ahead of the main lifting surfaces, rather than behind them as in conventional aircraft. The earliest models, were seen by observers to resemble a flying duck — hence the name. The term canard has also come to mean the tail surface itself, when mounted in that configuration. ] in front of the wing to modify the airflow over it, most notably during lower altitude flight. Read More...

The Whitcomb Area Rule

The Brotherhood
"I now know why men who have been to war yearn to reunite. Not to tell stories or look at old pictures. Not to laugh or weep. Comrades gather because they long to be with the men who once acted at their best; men who suffered and sacrificed, who suffered and stripped of their humanity. I did not pick these men. They were delivered by fate and the military. But I know them in a way I know no other men. I have never given anyone such trust. They were willing to guard something more precious than my life. They would have carried my reputation, the memory of me. It was part of the bargain we all made, the reason we were so willing to die for one another. As long as I have memory, I will think of them all, every day. I am sure that when I leave this world, my last thought will be of my family and my comrades. Such good men." -- Author unknown