Lieutenant Billy B. Dobbs'


By Don Griffith


   I have thought about recording some Korean War history by printing exciting stories of MiG15 kills. In my case, my MiG-kill mission was not that exciting. If we found a MiG below us, especially a loaner, he was dead meat. I got in and out quickly because in my case a fight of six more MiGs was trailing.
   I recall missions like our four Sabres flying into the front of a flight of 60 MiGs, or another time when our flight was turning behind a flight of four MiGs. Seconds before I was in firing position, I flamed-out! We went from offense to defense in a hurry. I was flamed out for twenty minutes and my wingman was shot down, but my flight members did some super flying to save me. Not a successful mission but certainly exciting!
    One of my wingmen got his first MiG-kill while flying with me. Again it was a case of finding a lone MiG below us, but I like his story.

Billy's Story

   February 21, 1952 was a brisk, clear day. I was on our schedule as a spare lead for the 4th Fighter Wing. Billy B. Dobbs was assigned as spare two. All aircraft lined on the runway for take off with our spare element behind. Black smoke engulfed us as we bounced around in their jet wash. All Sabres got off and crossed the Bomb Line with no aborts, so we were on our own!
   We flew north to the combat area looking for action. I spotted a lone MiG at 9 o'clock low with two F-86s in chase. They were out of firing range in a 45 degree climb. I had been in that position many times, so I knew who was going to win that race! We zipped over there, and as I pulled in behind the MiG, I overshot. That put Billy right in its 6 o'clock position. He called, "Let me have it!" I said "Take it!" I rolled out of my bank and flew loose formation on the MiG's left wing. I next got the I pilot's attention. He was looking at me as Billy lit up his plane with hits.
   It was over quickly. Billy regained his position on my right wing. I took my hands off my stick and throttle and gave him the old boxer's victory signal: two fists over my head. Billy returned the signal and then disappeared in a dive! He was pumped and did not realize his Sabre was trimmed nose down.
   We returned to Kimpo with no further encounters. Billy overshot the runway twice in his excitement before landing!
   It was a great day for our old "E" Flight of the 335th Fighter Squadron, but I was surprised at the reaction of others. We found that our Squadron Ops Officer was chasing that same MiG, and he pouted and said we stole his MiG? Others asked why I let my wingman shoot that MiG down? This led to a discussion over roles and missions, and the reason for putting ammunition in the wingman's guns.
   Lieutenant Billy B. Dobbs was a junior member of our flight, but by this time a seasoned wingmam. Our flight commander, Bill Todd, and I soon returned to the States. Billy became a flight leader. He got his second MiG on March 11, and eventually five (four confirmed) before he was through. He was like a kid brother to us, and I like thinking that Todd and I trained him well.
   I was proud to serve as Billy's ' best man at his wedding in Fontana. California. But about six weeks later, Billy was killed in a T-33 crash at Nellis Air Force Base while flying as an instructor.
    Billy B. Dobbs was a wonderful individual and a super fighter pilot. He had many incredible flying experiences, but none more exciting than his first MiG-kill.

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