Grumman F-16?

In celebration of the South Dakota Air National Guard’s 75th anniversary this year, one of the 114th Fighter Wing’s 175th Fighter Squadron (FS) “Lobos” F-16s has been given a somewhat confusing special livery– that of a Marine WWII F4F Wildcat.

A blue and white F-16 from the 114th Fighter Wing, painted at the Air National Guard Paint Facility in Sioux City, Iowa was painted for the South Dakota Air Guard in commemoration of their 75th anniversary. U.S. Air National Guard photo: Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

The heritage scheme represents the WWII F4F Wildcat flown by South Dakota native, Medal of Honor recipient, and Marine Corps ace Joseph J. “Joe” Foss, who was instrumental in founding the SDANG post-war and establishing its 175th FS, which received federal recognition 20 September 1946.

Foss (fourth from left) joins members of Marine Corps fighter squadron VMF-121 on a Wildcat wing at Henderson Field, Guadalcanal. (U.S. Marine Corps)

Foss, immediately after the war, was made a colonel in the USAAF and appointed to form an Air National Guard fighter squadron in Sioux Falls, equipped with P-51 Mustangs. In a little-known fact, he had begun his military service in 1939 as an enlisted man with a field artillery unit of the South Dakota guard, then hitchhiked to Minneapolis to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves in 1940 in order to join the Naval Aviation Cadet program, making him ultimately a veteran of the Army, Marines, and Air Force, retiring from the latter in 1955 as a one-star general.

Either way, the cigar-chomping Foss, would have likely approved of the coyote tail flash. 

U.S. Air National Guard photo: Senior Master Sgt. Vincent De Groot

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