Dedicated to all those who served with or supported the 456th Fighter Squadron or 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron or the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
In Memory of ROBERT 'BOB' JUSTUS, original creator of
HISTORY OF THE 456th F.I.S. Fighter Interceptor Squadron

Luther Patch
The History of the 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron can be described in very few words "RAPID CHANGE".

Originally constituted as the 456th Fighter Squadron" on October 15, 1944, at Seymour Johnson Air Field NC; then moved to Selfridge Air Field Michigan, on November 21, 1944; and then to Bluethenthal Air Field NC, on March 19 till June 5, 1945; before being reassigned to North Field, Iwo Jima, as part of the 414th Fighter Group, 7th Fighter Command, 301st Fighter Wing, of the 20th Air Force, on July 7, 1945; and then again on December 23, 1945 to Clark Field and Florida Blance Field, Luzon in the Philippians; where it was finally deactivated on August 25, 1946.

(A great site for the History of 7th Fighter Command and 414th Fighter Group  is (

Old Luther Patch
The squadron emblem or insignia that most of us know as Luther was originally described in the application for approval to the Department of the Army Air Core, as follows,
Squadron emblem insignia 'Luther' application

"Over and through ultra-marine blue disc, a caricatured, ferocious, red  octopus, affront, winged in gold, having yellow eyes with green pupils, three tentacles on either side focused and emanating a golden fluid toward the center base: area enclosed within the tentacles and fluid of the field."  It was approved by the the Department of Army Air Core, on 21, March 1945."

The original story of who designed, how it was chosen, or the significants of the insigina, and squadron motto of, "EXERTUS, MOSTUS, FIGHTUS, BESTUS" is totally unknown.

The following is made up of excerpts from e-mails that I have received from Stan Wood who was a Lieutenant and a pilot in the original 456 FS in 1944, 1945 and 1946.

Interesting web site and very happy to have found you through Mark. I was a Lt. pilot with the 456th in 45 and 46.  I flew P-38s, Jugs, and 51s with the 456th as well as the first Lockheed P-80s when we were supplied with 30 of them while stationed at Florida Blanca in the Philippines.
- Cheers, Stan Wood"

America Strikes Back

Ken Taylor in his P-40 Tomahawk bringing down his second enemy aircraft on December 7, 1941, an Aichi D-3A1 "Val" dive-bomber. George Welch is in close company as a group of Japanese planes head for the sea over Barbers Point. In the background palls of smoke rise from Hangar 6 housing the naval float planes, and the up-turned battleship Oklahoma.

"Major Kenneth Taylor was my C.O. and he is now a retired General living in Alaska.  Lt. Ken Taylor and Lt. George Welsh were the first two who shot down Japs on Dec. 11 flying P-40s.  Ken is the only one that I have talked to and have no idea where anyone else is and sure wish I knew.                 _Cheers, Stan"

"General Ken Taylor is living in Anchorage, AK.  I talked to him a year ago...
Ken had a piece and picture in the People magazine, issue of May 28, 2001"

"George S. Welch was born in 1918 and was killed while ejecting from an F-100A on Columbus Day in 1954. He was very active as a military test pilot.

"Together in 1941 Ken and George shot down between 6 and 10 Jap planes.  Ken was officially credited with two and George with 4 after flying 3 sorties.  They were both given the DSO for the days work.  They were, as I understand, with the 47th F/S stationed at Wheeler Field.  I wish I could be of more help.    _Cheers, Stan "

456th FS Aircraft





"Bob, The primary plane was the P-47.  When the Squadron was transferred to Clark Field. in Manila we flew P-51s and some P-38s.  We also had 38s later when we were moved to a new fighter base north of Manila, Florida Blanca, where our primary planes were P47N models.  I can remember we still had some 38s there as I later helped ferry some of them down to either Nichols or Clark Field where they pushed them all into a huge hole and destroyed them.  Remember well, one brand new 38L with only 10 hours on the form one.  I salvaged the control wheel from it and managed to take it home with me. These planes could have been purchased from the Government for $100 with full tanks of gas and all the instrumentation intact.  It was enough to make you sick watching them burn these planes up.
(Yes, that was one hundred dollars)

"In Florida Blanca the primary plane was the P-47.  Somewhere in the early part of 1946 we got 30 Lockheed P-80As for testing in field conditions, which were the first jets in the South Pacific.  I remember flying over the Aircraft Carrier in Manila bay many times with the jets just sitting on the deck.  They had come over without the batteries and Aux. tanks so we didn't get them delivered for over a month.  I remember being on TDY in Manila, with not much to do, so I took the Jet engine course that they had at Clark.   When we finally did get the 80s trucked up to our base it was mandatory that to fly them you had to have completed the engine course. Since I happened to be the only one of the line pilots to have completed it I was able to check out after our Group commander and my Squadron Commander.

  "We lost a few.  I remember being on the road behind an 80 starting his take off run and hearing the buckets start to let go in the turbine. The pilot couldn't hear it from the cockpit and having no radio to contact the tower and no way to get the pilots attention I was only able to watch him get off the ground and blow up at the other end of the field. The most frustrating experience I have ever had. "    _ Cheers, Stan

The squadron was resurrected and re-designated  as "The 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron" on March 23, 1953 at George AFB, Victorville, California.   It was reactivated  August 8, 1954 and assigned to TRUX Air Field, Madison Wisconsin,   under the command of Major James Macefield, as part of the 28th Air Division, and equipped with North American F-86-D Saber Jets.

456th FIS  Aircraft




Exactly one year later on August, 18 1955, the squadron  was deactivated.

This deactivation was short  lived, for two months later on  October, 18  1955, it as reactivated again at Castle Air  Force Base in Merced  / Atwater California, with a  detachment at the Fresno Municipal Airport, Fresno, California.  Once again with North American F-86D  Saber Jets.  A year later June 1958 the squadron was transitioned to the Convair F-102"Delta Dagger".      ( The first production delta wing aircraft in the world. )

Then, a mere 15 months later, in June the last aircraft transition occurred, this time to :

The Convair F-106 "DELTA DART"

 After over 40 years,  it is still officially the fastest single engine jet aircraft in the world, the eleventh ( 11th ) fastest production aircraft in the world, and the twelfth (12th) fastest over all manned aircraft in the world.   

The Worlds Fastest Single Engine Jet Aircraft

The Absolute World Speed Records

 On 1 July 1960 the squadron was reassigned to the new  San Francisco Air Defense Sector.

On July 18th, 1968 the 456th Fighter Interceptor Squadron was officially moved to Oxnard Air Force Base in Oxnard California and its designation changed to the 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron.


The original color scheme (yellow & black instead of yellow & blue) and tail markings of the 456 FIS F-106. The Red, White & Blue stripes and the shield indicate the 28th Air  Division

 Lt. Col. James Price at 1961 William Tell

    Courtesy Of Douglas Fahnlander


       The Thin Aluminum Line

        Luther At The Hill Air Museum

 Some Topics Of Interest

        Aviators Heaven

        The History Of Convair

        The Air Force Memorial

        The Worlds Fastest Aircraft

       The Century Series Aircraft

       The 28th Air Division

       A Son's Mission

        The 1963 WilliamTell

        The 1964 SAGE Tests
        The 456th Wins Coveted "A" Award

        The 456 FIS Does It Again

        The 456th Makes The News         The Squadron Area 1959 -1960
        The 456th FIS Wins Awards

        The 456th Wins The 1961 William Tell

        The 456th. FIS Sets Records         Dead Sticking An F-106

        The 456th Fresno Det-One

        Historical 456th FIS Photos

        General Castle        The 1964 - 1965 Base Directory



Oxnard AFB, CA.

This designation was extremely short lived.  Just 2 months later on September 30th, 1968 the 437th F.I.S. designation was deactivated, thus making the 437th Fighter Interceptor Squadron the “shortest - lived” F-106 UNIT IN HISTORY. 



Oxnard AFB, CA.

Kingsley Field, Or.

Grand Forks, ND

That very same day the unit became the 460th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, and remained at Oxnard AFB. until November 1969, when it was moved to Kingsley Field in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Eighteen months later the squadron was once again moved, this time to Grand Forks Air Force Base, in Grand Forks, North Dakota in April 1971.  On July 15th 1974 the 460th FIS was deactivated and all the aircraft were either dispersed or removed from active duty.


After 30 years
8 aircraft types
NUMEROUS base assignments
and  2 squadron designations
the 456th F. S. AND 456th F. I. S. and THEIR remnants ceased to exist