Retired Col. Walker M. Mahurin, who achieved 24.25 aerial kills over two wars, died May 11 at age 91. He served first in Europe, but after being shot down and working with the French underground for several months, he was sent to the Pacific, where he got his last victory of World War II in January 1945. In Korea, where he shot down 3.5 MiG-15s, Mahurin conceived and developed use of the F-86 as a dive-bomber and for air-to-air combat and strafing. On a strafing run himself on May 13, 1952, he was hit, crash-landed, and captured by the North Koreans. He was held for 16 months, mostly in solitary confinement and often tortured—both psychologically and physically. He last served as vice commander of the 27th Air Division, leaving active duty in 1956, serving in the aerospace industry, and later retiring from the Air Force Reserve. (Also read Los Angeles Times report; Washington Post report; Acepilots.com report)
Boeing’s receipt of the 10th lot contract award for the KC-46 Pegasus this week leaves just three lots left to complete the Air Force’s buy of the tanker, although a further buy of 75 additional aircraft as a “bridge” to the Next-Generation Aerial-refueling System (NGAS) seems increasingly likely.