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The USAF Museum aircraft (#111) on display.

The United States Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio has a beautifully restored Me 262A-1a that was literally rescued from the scrap heap. 

An Air Technical Intelligence field team reported the existence of a flyable jet at Munich-Riem in early May, and on the 16th of May German test pilot Karl Baur recorded ferrying it to Lechfeld at the request of the Americans.   Recent evidence suggests that this plane may have seen operational service with the Luftwaffe as White 5 of JAGD 54.  Remnants from this squadron (perhaps four jets) were apparently diverted to the field due to technical problems very close to VE Day.

At Lechfeld, the 54th Air Disarmament Squadron emblazoned Beverly Ann across the nose of the aircraft, and it was later was flown by Lieutenant Bob Strobell.  Strobell re-christened it Screamin' Meemie in a decidedly spontaneous manner.  He was never one to concern himself with naming airplanes, so when pressed, he humorously offered up The Blowtorch.  When this failed to impress the crew chief, he recalled a familiar expression of the day and instead opted for the equally colorful Screamin' Meemie.  (Note: The term "Screamin' Meemie" was widely used to refer to anything that caused one nervous jitters.)

Strobell ferried the plane to Melun, where the familiar Whizzers markings were applied and it was assigned the control number 111.  This aircraft was the lead ship during the aerial demonstration flight for General Carl Spaatz (where Strobell performed an impromptu series of rolls over the runway). 

Placed aboard the H.M.S. Reaper as #20, the plane arrived at Newark and was handed over the US Navy for testing.  The Navy assigned a new BurAer control number, 121442, and put some 10 hours of flight testing on the airframe.  Its last flight was in January 1946, and following one or two transfers to various Naval Aviation Supply Depot activities, it was ultimately stricken from Navy records on the 31st of January 1947, and abandoned in the Patuxent River NAS landfill.

The plane was salvaged in 1957 and taken to Wright Field.  After a brief period on static display, the jet went into storage.  

 

In 1976, the jet was taken to Kelly Air Force Base, Texas where it was restored by members of the 96th Mobile Maintenance Squadron, an Air Force Reserve unit.  Upon completion in 1980, it was transferred to the Air Force Museum and placed on permanent display.

Today, it wears a correct, but non-unit specific paint scheme, as no definitive evidence of an operational history was available.

In late 1998, Mr. David E. Brown of Experten Historical Aviation Research, Inc. offered a substantive body of evidence suggesting wartime service as outlined above.

The matter is currently under investigation, but appears to be based upon a very solid foundation of research and photographic interpretation.

Watch for more details on this aircraft later in 2000!

 

Screamin' Meemie on the ramp at Melun, France.  Credit:  Webmaster's collection

Screamin' Meemie in U.S. Navy hands.  Credit:  Jay Miller Collection

The USAFM aircraft following restoration.  Credit: USAFM.


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