BIG SQUAW
Republic P-47D-20-RA Thunderbolt
19th Fighter Squadron, 318th Fighter Group, 7th Air Force
Saipan, Marianas Islands


Emblem of the 19th Fighter Squadron "Fighting Cocks"
I have a wealth of information on Big Squaw. There are a number of photos of her in several books. The 19th squadron seems to have had an enthusiastic photographer, and there are plenty of photos in color of several 19th FS planes for color reference.

Big Squaw was a Republic P-47D-20 RA Built in Evansville, Indiana, serial number 43-25327. She was olive drab with a neutral gray belly. For a squadron identifying feature the 19th FS removed the paint from the tail and the engine cowling, so they were bare-metal silver. The stripes on the tail are medium blue, as are the cowl flaps, and the top of the cowl. The individual aircraft identifier "E" on the side is white; the serial number is black. There was a lot of touch-up paint on her - see the photo below. There are four pineapples under the windshield, each one signifying 6 months duty in the "Pineapple Air Force."

Big Squaw was assigned to Capt. John Vogt, but Dad flew her also. One possible reason for this was that, at one point, the 333rd and 73rd squadrons of the 318th Group were mothballed in preparation for recieving the P-47N model, and the entire group's pilots shared the 19th's Jugs.


A photo of "Big Squaw" from a book. You can see from this picture that the plane had been repainted - a colored fuselage band and side number have been painted over with big patches of new OD paint over the faded base coat. This could mean that the plane was once assigned to a different squadron. I've noticed this overpainting on other planes in the squadron too. The star-and-bar national insignia on the fuselage is in a non-standard position on 19th FS P-47s, behind the intercooler doors. It was usually farther forward, aligned with the front edge of the doors.
Note in the background a 7th Air Force B-24, and a squadron of Marine Corps Vought F4U-1 Corsairs. Saipan was a busy place!

Another shot of "Big Squaw" from the 7th Air Force's history "One Damned Island After Another." The four pineapples can be seen ahead of the cockpit.

Other things one can surmise from this picture: The 19th's jeep was getting fixed, the scramble order wasn't all that urgent, and the bull just washed his hair.

A color photo of the 19th on the way from Saipan to Tinian (or on the way home). The plane in the forground is possibly Big Squaw. The only doubt comes from the knowledge that the 19th occasionally had more than one plane with the same code letter, the serial number isn't clear enough to read, and the cowling isn't clear enough to see a name. They're carrying 80 gallon belly tanks.
Photo by the 19th's dilligent photog, Jim Weir.


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