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Brewster 339 in U.S. Army service

Jim Maas writes:

Got an interesting letter from Robert Parker, Albury NSW Australia, regarding the natural metal 339-23 'long nose' in US stars and bars (tail number '313') shown on page 44 of the "In Action" book:

"...that photo was taken at Essendon Airport, Melbourne, Victoria some time in 1942 [actually the insignia dates it in 1943 - j.m.]. My dad was a prewar private pilot and had access to all areas of the airport and I as a 13-14 year old tagged along....the first time I saw the Buffalo it was begrimed and to me - awe-inspiring as it was the first REAL fighter I had ever touched. A few months later dad and I returned to Essendon (we lived in a country town 160 miles away) and here was 'my' Buffalo sitting on the tarmac in absolute mint condition - polished like chrome - together with a Curtiss SNC-1 Falcon (ex-Dutch) in similar condition. The emergency was over after the Battle of the Coral Sea and the commanding officer...had commandeered the two aircraft for his own use and had a squad of willing helpers to service 'his' aircraft. Many were the stories ...we heard of his aerobatic displays and his slow rolls at low level along the highway to Geelong (45 miles away) where his lady friend was alleged to reside. This form of aerial paradise continued for some time until finally some authority further up the chain of command got wind of it: commander and all of his assistants disappeared overnight - and the Buffalo was pushed into a remote corner of the airport and slowly decayed and disappeared....."

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