28 February 1941 – The Republic F-84 Thunderjet was an American turbojet fighter-bomber aircraft. Originating as a 1944 United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) proposal for a “day fighter”, the F-84 first flew in 1946. Although it entered service in 1947, the Thunderjet was plagued by so many structural and engine problems that a 1948
Donald L. Schmenk
“I was fortunate to be able to spend 20.5 years as a pilot in the USAF.
I started my career as an Aviation Cadet with Pilot Training Class 58- OP in March 1957. For reasons known only to The USAF I was reassigned to class 59-A.
In July 1958 I graduated with my wings and commission. I attended Primary Flight Training at Spence AB, Moultrie, GA flying the T-34 and T-28. I attended Basic Flight Training in the T-33 at Greenville AFB, MS where I graduated.
After attending Basic Instructor School in the T-33 at Craig, AFB, AL, I returned to Greenville as an instructor in the T-33. When Greenville closed I was reassigned to Moody AFB, GA where I flew T-33 targets for the F-86D Interceptor School until attending Primary Instructor Training in the T-37. I stayed with the T-37 until 1962 when I transitioned to the T-28 and instructed Foreign Students in the T-28.
I transferred to Randolph AFB, TX, still flying the T-28. While there I received and assignment to the F-100. I flew the F-100F and F-100C at Luke AFB, AZ until receiving an assignment to RAF Lakenheath, in the UK flying the F-100F and D with the 494th TFS. I went from the UK to Tuy Hoa RVN where I flew with the 308th TFS and I flew 235 combat missions in the F-100.
I returned to Keesler AFB, MS to again fly the T-28A and T-28B, once more with foreign students. When the T-28 was phased out, I was transferred to Webb AFB, TX to once again instruct foreign students in the T-37 until my retirement in 1977.
Following my retirement from the USAF continued to fly as a corporate pilot where I flew the King Air 90, 200 and 300. The Citation II, Lear 25, 32, 35, 55 and 60 until retiring once again in 2005 at age 68! I still fly my 1947 Ercoupe whenever I can!
I have well over 11,000 hours of flying time and still counting! My flying time is about equally divide between military and civilian.”