Photographer: Jean-Michel Lefebvre ©
Date: 29 June and early days of August 1972
Size: 135 and 6x6 B&W negatives
Subject: 4th Fighter Wing
Caption: On request, 1018x682 enlarged Sioux head applied on Mirage III E C/n 573 vertical fin. The first of the famous Escadrille La Fayette's Indian heads N 124 Escadrille having Bébé Nieuport fighters at its origins was a Seminole head.
We continue with 4th
Fighter Wing on the Luxeuil BA 116 French Air Force Base. During
1916 the field housed the 'La Fayette' at its débuts and all
along WWI it was a place of importance to carry operations
against Germans and Germany with fighter, bomber and recce units.
Here at Luxeuil, from an Album containing a good number of large
original WWI pictures including first hours of American
Volunteers N 124 Escadrille which became 'Escadrille La Fayette',
I copied some of them with hand held camera and I have to examine
negs quality and know if I may publish them here a day or another...
Luxeuil also housed the 'La Fayette' Squadron, from 2 January 1945, from where it continued with its P-47 Thunderbolts to support French units having participated to deliver Tunisia and Italia before to sweep French soil and continue to fight Germans in South Germany, as far as the Hitler Eagle's Nest of Berchtesgaden, until the last minute of WWII.
Beside a number of pictures of high interest for modellers including the full scale foreseen squadrons Mirage tail markings which never were adopted, you find in this second part why one of the latest Dewoitine 520 in existence in France, and it was astonishing to see it in relatively good condition, was guarding entrance of the Base Commanding Post, this under the very difficult climate of East France where the Luxeuil Meteo Station registered negative 45° Celsius temperatures during a number of winters and, in 1963, during my stay on the Base, main runway was so badly damaged after a dramatic period of intensive cold that a part of the Wing was forced to install on an outside base to continue activities with its F-84F fighter-bombers.
Otherly, you see pictures of daily life of this prestigious wing and one of a civil aircraft with a friend who landed on this nuke air base to see me during my report !!! I tell the abominable drama he lived in Algeria with his leader and though he had not an ounce of reponsability I keep him anonymous.
I also submitt you an enigma with picture 27 and I invite you to e-mail me (adress is on the cover) all that may pass in your head as possible origin of this spectacular shot!!! I give the solution with API N°13 to be issued on 2 July...
And also you may see the French Air Force pilot, indeniably the sole, who flew an F-15 with a French cockade at Edwards AFB but pictures taken for the occasion are scheduled for a far future!!!