This week’s pic is a detail shot of a model of a P-38 Lightning that’s housed in the hallway of the Bob Hope Airport here in Burbank. But the story is much bigger than that.
As you’ve read, I’m quite the fan of Burbank, where I live. The city was the site of the Lockheed Aircraft manufacturing plant during WWII, and every P-38 was built here.
The P-38 Lightning display at the local airport memorializes Dick Bong, the the United State’s most successful ace who shot down an official 40 Japanese planes during the War. He’s also famous for having flown a group of P-38s under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Despite that, his war record earned him a Congressional Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest recognition for fighting men. He returned to Burbank as a test pilot and was killed there in a Lockheed P-80 on August 6, 1945 (the day of the bombing of Hiroshima), just six months after getting married.
While Bong flew the plane that it is tributed, so did test pilot Anthony LeVier, who was nicknamed Snafuperman. Private Snafu was a creation of director Friz Freleng and Warner Bros. pictures, also here in Burbank. The cartoon series was made for servicemen during the war, and one particular episode was called Snafuperman and was an inspiration for soldiers to read their field manuals. (Snafu, as you know, is an acronym for situation normal, all F’d up.)
See the video of the Snafuperman episode below the photo. I’m sure you’ll recognize the voice of Pvt. Snafu.
It’s been my goal to have this Snafuperman nose art placed on the sides of my Jeep.