Thursday, February 23, 2012

A B-26 of the “Black Bat” Squadron

A vintage B-26 will be displayed at the Aviation Education Exhibition Hall of the Republic of China Air Force in Gangshan, Kaohsiung to commemorate the devotion and sacrifice made by our air crew during the Cold War era in the last century.

In the 1950s, eager to gather intelligence about Communist China but not willing to engage U.S. personnel due to political sensitivity, the United States asked the ROCAF to provide manpower to fly low-altitude nocturnal reconnaissance missions over mainland China. In 1958, the 34th Squadron was formed operating on U.S. made aircraft, such as B-17, B-26, P2V, and C-46 etc. Soon the squadron won the nickname of “Black Bat” for its heroic daring actions behind enemy line at nights. Until its disbandment in 1974, the “Black Bat” flew a total of 838 reconnaissance missions acquiring tons of valuable information that helped greatly in defending our freedom and democracy. However, the price of freedom was never cheap. 15 aircraft were shot down and lost and 148 aircrews were listed either killed or missing in action. The 34th Squadron was the only unit in the ROCAF that had sustained such high combat loss during “peace time”.  

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