MARK ROBINSON COLLECTION
No. 5495. On Mark A-26A Counter Invader (N99218 c/n 18796)
Photographed at Mojave, California, USA, ca. 1976, by Mark Robinson

On Mark A-26A Counter Invader

12/31/2013. Remarks by Johan Visschedijk: "The pictured aircraft was manufactured for the USAAF as an A-26C Invader by Douglas Aircraft at Tulsa, Oklahoma under the serial 43-22649. It was delivered on February 8, 1944, and subsequently based at Hunter AAF in Georgia, whereafter it was assigned to the Ninth AF in the UK. In July 1945 it returned to the USA and was stored. In January 1948 it resumed active service as a TA-26C with 186th Fighter Squadron of the ANG at Gore AFB Montana, the following June it was redesignated TB-26C.

In March 1951 it was transferred to the 207th Tow Target Flight (TTF) of the ANG at Key Field, Missouri. In May 1951 the aircraft transferred with the 207th TTF to Tactical Air Command at New Castle AFB, Delaware, the following month the 207th TTF was renamed to 2nd Tow Target Squadron (TTS). In 1953 the aircraft received a solid nose and transferred with the 2nd TTS to Mitchel AFB, New York. In November 1959 it was withdrawn from actice service again and stored at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona.

In December 1963 the aircraft was delivered to On Mark at Van Nuys, California, for remanufacture to B-26K Counter Invader, its serial 43-22649 was stricken off on January 16, 1964, and subsequently it received the new serial 64-17657. November 12, 1964 the aircraft was delivered as a B-26K and assigned to the 605th Air Commando (Composite) Squadron (AF Southern Command) at Howard AFB, Panama.

In service with the USAF the type was used by the 606th Air Commando Squadron (later 609th Special Operations Squadron) from Nakhon Phanom Air Base in Thailand. Whilst in Thailand the B-26K was redesignated A-26A since an agreement between the Thai and US Governments prohibited the basing of bombers in Thailand.

In April 1968, 64-17657 (by then an A-26A) was assigned to the 603d Special Operations Squadron (SOS) of the 1st Special Operations Wing (Tactical Air Command) at England AFB, Louisiana. The 603d SOS moved to Hurlburt Field, Florida in July 1969, only three months later, the aircraft was again withdrawn from active service and again stored at Davis-Monthan AFB. In November 1972, 64-17657 was dropped from the USAF inventory.

On July 25, 1974 it came on the FAA register as N62104, registered to Arthur W. McDonnel of Mojave, California, and subsequently received a glazed nose again, and was reregistered N99218 on December 5, 1974. In November 1975 it was damaged at Edwards AFB, California, when upon landing the nose gear collapsed, it was subsequently repaired. The aircraft was written off when it crashed during landing approach at Chino, California, on February 9, 1978.

After years of open storage and cannibalizing at various locations, the nose and cockpit section is being restored for display at The Wings Museum in Brantridge Lane, Sussex, UK."

08/31/2006. Remarks by Jack McKillop: "The Douglas A-26 Invader was redesignated B-26 Invader when the Attack category was deleted in 1948. In the new designation system introduced in 1962, the "A" was reinstated to accommodate the Navy's attack aircraft and was officially Tactical Support Aircraft.

By the 1960s, the A/B-26 Invader had been replaced by jets but in the 1960s, the USAF used B-26s to develop counter insurgency tactics but the wings of these aircraft were developing cracks and they were taken out of combat. Because this aircraft showed such promise in the counter insurgency role, the USAF gave On Mark Engineering Company a contract to modify an existing aircraft in this role. This aircraft became a prototype and was designated YB-26K. The USAF was impressed and in 1964 ordered 40 modified B-26Ks from On Mark.

There was a political problem when the aircraft were sent to Thailand to support the war in Vietnam. The Thais did not want "bombers" on their territory so the aircraft were redesignated A-26A-OM."

Created July 15, 2006