official 10-man squadron flew out of Taejon with Lt. Col. Merrill H. Carlton commanding. Dubbed the “Mosquitoes” due to their small, annoying aircraft that signaled to the enemy that they were about to be “stung,” the squadron flew 670 hours in 269 sorties before be- ing organized into an official unit, the 6147th Tactical Control Group (TACG), on August 1, 1950. Accord- ing to the U.S. Air Force Museum, the Mosquito Squadron was the first to create a “large-scale, com- prehensive airborne forward air control (FAC) system.”
Before being initially disbanded in 1956, the Mosquitos flew more
than 40,000 sorties in support of United Nations ground forces, the majority in T-6D, T-6F, and LT-6G Texans fitted with 2.25-inch white phosphorous (WP) or smoke rock- ets. Five-inch WP rockets were also used when the squadron first formed, but as the squadron gained notoriety for its success in supporting Air Force and Army units, it was able to upgrade its ag- ing equipment and obtain newly manufactured aircraft to carry more of the smaller rockets.
Unarmed except for the marker rockets, the FACs flew low and slow over enemy territory, drawing fire from any and every enemy rifle and
anti-aircraft gun in the area. While the T-6 turned out to be a rugged aircraft that could bring its pilot and observer home, even with a 37 mm shell hole in the root of its wing, approximately 80 Mosquito personnel were killed or listed as missing in action, while another 15 spent time as prisoners of war after their T-6s were shot down.
FACs in Vietnam
While Grant Lannon missed the Korean War by about 15 years, he could still identify with the air- borne FACs from that era. A 1962 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Acad- emy, Lannon spent a tour of duty
Visitors to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2004’s Warbirds area were greeted by Grant Lannon and Ron Dietes’ ex-South African air force (SAAF) AT-6. This aircraft was built at North American Aviation’s Dallas, Texas, facility and shipped across the Atlantic to the SAAF in 1943 as part of the Lend-Lease program. After returning to the warbird market, Lannon and Dietes restored the Texan in the markings of the 6147th Tactical Control Group, which was active during the Korean War.