Col. Robert L. Scott Jr.’s F-84E (Hobby Boss 1/32 kit)
In 1951 Colonel Robert L. Scott Jr., author of “God is My Co-Pilot,” commanded the 31st Fighter-Bomber Wing at Furstenfeldbruck in West Germany. It being winter with bad flying weather, he came up with an idea: how about an “exploratory mission” to discover what airfields in Africa were suitable for operations by jets, in case that should someday be necesary? (the fact it was warm and sunny there had absolutely nothing to do with why he would make such a suggestion) The AF went along with the scheme, and Scott and a wingman flew to Wheelus AFB in Libya, and then made a circumnavigation of Africa, the first flight by jets on the continent, going down the east coast to South Africa, then up the west coast, cutting across the Sahara to Algeria.
This is the F-84E Thunderjet he flew on that mission. Note the Flying Tiger symbols, memorializing his service as the first group commander of the 23rd Fighter Group, successors to the AVG, which was the topic of his well-known book.
As an aside, I once received what I still today think is the best compliment I ever got as a writer, when I was at the AFAA convention in 1984, and a “Bob Scott” came up, read my name tag and proceeded to tell me why a recent article I’d written was what he called “the best article about a fighter pilot I’ve ever read.” Halfway through the conversation, it clicked to me who he was. I replied to him that reading “God Is My Co-Pilot” was what had set me on the course of writing about aviation.
The Hobby Boss kit, painted with Talon acrylic metal paints, using Zotz Decals.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.