01 October 2009

After the end of hostilities in the Korean peninsula in 1953, the Douglas F3D Skyknights of Marine Corps squadron VMF(N)-513 continued to fly night patrols to stop North Korean Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes from crossing the DMZ. On some nights, even North Korean MiG-15 would test the waters by making runs across the DMZ and dashing back north before they could be intercepted by the F3D patrols.

The Marine Corps came up with a joint tactic with the USAF to stop the intruding flights by the MiG-15s which in some cases were too fast for the F3Ds. At South Korean air base K-55, the USAF had some F-86 Sabre units in residence. But the Sabres lacked nocturnal capability as they didn't have an air intercept radar. So in a tactic called "Mad Dog", an F3D would radio K-55 when five miles out with an F-86 at the end of K-55's runway ready to roll. The Skyknight then radio in again when one mile out and that was the F-86's signal to begin its takeoff roll.

As the F3D passed low over the runway, the F-86 pilot would lift off and follow the glow from the twin engine tailpipes of the Skyknight. If the F3D Skyknight couldn't catch up with the MiG-15, they "launched" the F-86 and used their air intercept radar to guide the Sabre pilot to the intercept, much like a miniature AWACS system.

After several Mad Dog sorties, the North Korean MiGs stopped their noctural provocation flights across the DMZ.

Source: Combat Aircraft, October 2009. "US Navy Fighters of the Fifties- Skyknight" by LCDR Rick Burgess USN (Ret), p87.

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