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Home Base: Bamberg, SC
Operation: Western, Central and Eastern USA
Model: F4U-4
Wing Span:
41' 0"
Length: 33' 8"
Height: 14' 9"
Max Speed: 470 mph
Gross Weight: 15,200 lbs
Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W
Horsepower: 2,100
Fuel Capacity: 234 gallons internal, plus (2) 150 gallon drop tanks
(6) .50 caliber machine guns with 2,400 rounds, (8) 5" HVAR (high velocity aircraft rockets), (2) 1,000 lbs bombs or Napalm or 15" Tiny Tim rockets.

Jim Tobul's Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair "Korean War Hero"

Jim Tobul is the owner and operator of this beautifully restored Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair "Korean War Hero" (BuNo 97143), which is a Korean War combat veteran and is available for airshows, flybys and film.

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was the first American fighter to demonstrate air superiority over Japanese aircraft during the Second World War and the most capable of all carrier-based fighter aircraft. The F4U model 4B was delivered to the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm aircraft carriers in June of 1945 just in time for the final push against the Japanese mainland.

Chance Vought, the second oldest aircraft manufacturer having been founded in 1917, designed and built the prototype of the Corsair, a single-seat carrier-based fighter which first flew on May 29, 1940. Deliveries to the military started in July 1942 when they first entered combat from land bases on recaptured Pacific islands and from Allied aircraft carriers in the Pacific Ocean. Corsairs were the first American fighter to exceed 400 mph. They were soon recognized by the Japanese as a formidable adversary and considered superior to their own best fighters. More than 12,000 Corsairs of various models were built before production ceased in 1952.

Corsairs have a distinctive and ingenious gull-shaped wing design, which serves three purposes. First, it enables the wings to fold upward which allowed more aircraft to be stored on the flight decks and hangars of the small aircraft carriers of the time. Second, the wing design resulted in a shorter and stronger landing gear strut to withstand the tremendous shock loads resulting from carrier landings. Finally, it provided ground clearance for the thirteen-foot diameter, four bladed propeller. The F4U model 4B was built under the U.S. government’s “Lend-Lease” program for the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

June thru October 1951 Aboard the USS Boxer (CV21), VF884 Naval Reserve Squadron from Olathe, Kansas. This squadron was known as the "Bitter Birds" using the Kansas Jayhawk on their jacket patch. This exact aircraft was flown in combat by the following pilots: Lt. Duane Edge from Brondon, Mississippi; Lt. R. Fritz Schierenberg from Fort Collins, Co.; Lt. Robert Warner from Pensacola, Florida and Lt. Bill Wallace.

While in Korea, The "Bitter Birds" flew 1,519 missions, dropping 750,000 lbs of bombs and firing 3,800 rockets, also 1,400,000 rounds of ammunition. The fighting did take its terrible toll. Eight pilots of VF884 were killed or listed as missing in action, including the squadron's skipper Lcdr. G.F. Carmichael USNR. Normal squadron compliment of pilots were approximately 22 to 24 pilots.

December thru May 1951 Aboard USS Valley Forge (CV45), VF653 Naval Reserve Squadron from Akron, Ohio. This squadron patch emblem consisted of a dragon holding a shield which had a golden triangle and a checkerboard stripe. The golden triangle signified the large percentage of Pittsburgh area pilots in the squadron. The checkerboard stripe signified the winning of the Cleveland National Air Races twice by their Skipper LtCmdr. Cook Cleland. Cook won both races with Corsairs. Many other pilots of VF653 previously flew in World War II.

"Korean War Hero" was flown by at least four VF653 pilots in combat: Cmdr. Cook Cleland Pensacola, Flordia; Lt. Henry Sulkowski Bel Air, Maryland; Lt. J.R. Rohleder (became Admiral) AZ; Lt. Robert Jeffel Pittsburgh, PA. and Lt. David Robertson San Diego, CA.

Six pilots of VF653 were killed or listed as missing in action during this combat tour. The greatest toll was taken by enemy radar guided anti-aircraft guns while repeatedly striking the same targets.

"Korean War Hero" still retains three (3) combat flak repair patches on the starboard (right wing) wing and rear fuselage area. The aircraft was retired from Naval service on July 5, 1956. From approximately 1960 to 1970, the aircraft flew with the Honduran Air Force. In 1970 was sold to an American Airline pilot and brought to the USA. Joe & Jim Tobul bought this airplane in 1981 and started a very long rebuilding project. Ten (10) years later "Korean War Hero" proudly flew again on December 8, 1991 fittingly over the Pittsburgh skies.

"Korean War Hero" has just completed an extensive rebuild and won Grand Champion Post World War II at the 2011 Sun 'n Fun fly-in in Lakeland, FL.

Photo Gallery











Jim Tobul
367 Highland Circle
Bamberg, SC 29003

Korean War Hero Website


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