Here is a photo of "Wicked Wabbit" and "Hun Hunter XVI" from the 2012 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show.

Here is a photo of “Wicked Wabbit” and “Hun Hunter XVI” from the 2012 Thunder Over Michigan Air Show.

As reported by EAA , the Tennessee Museum of Aviation has announced its plan to bring Hun Hunter XVI and Wicked Wabbit to be featured in the Warbirds area at AirVenture this summer.

Hun Hunter XVI is owned by Neal Melton, and honors Gil O. Wymond. This P-47 (s/n  44-90460) was delivered to the Brazilian Air Force in the late 1940s as F-47 4175. It served with the Força Aérea Brasileira (FAB) until it was retired from service in the early 1960s and displayed it as 226450/A1 at the Recife AB between 1970 and 1987. In 1988 it made its way to the U.S. when purchased by Airplane Sales International of Santa Monica, CA. Neal Melton purchased it in 1996 and after a three years restoration it flew for the first time in 1999.

n addition, he flew 153 combat missions, was credited with the destruction of 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 2 probables, and served as Commanding Officer of the 65th Fighter Squadron from May 1943 to May 1945, with short periods on leave in the United States from July to September 1943, and May to June 1944.

Hun Hunter XVI is owned by Neal Melton, and honors Gil O. Wymond. In addition, he flew 153 combat missions, was credited with the destruction of 3 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 2 probables, and served as Commanding Officer of the 65th Fighter Squadron from May 1943 to May 1945, with short periods on leave in the United States from July to September 1943, and May to June 1944. ( Photo by Doug Fisher – www.warbirddeport.com)

The Republic P-47D-40-RA Thunderbolt “Wicked Wabbit” is owned by John Shoffner and it is based at the Tennessee Museum of Aviation as well. The P-47 44-90438 (c/n 399-55583) at the end of WWII was sold by the US government to the Yugoslav Air Force as #13021. After its service, the Yugoslav Air Force donated it to the Yugoslav Aeronautical Museum in Belgrade. In 1985 it was sold to Doug Arnold (United Kingdom), and in 1986 then sold to John Whittington of Knoxville (Tennessee, USA). In 1994 it was sold to John Shoffner also of Knoxville, TN who had the aircraft restored to flying condition. It returned to the air for the first time since WWII after restoration in 1998 in civilian registry N647D.

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Wicked Wabbit, owned by John Shoffner, pays tribute to James C. Hare. Of the more than 15,000 produced, it’s estimated that less than a dozen remain flying today. ( Photo by Doug Fisher – www.warbirddeport.com)

Thunderbolt is a 1947 film directed by William Wyler and John Sturges which documented the American aerial operations of Operation Strangle in World War II, when flyers of the Twelfth Air Force based on Corsica successfully impeded Axis supply lines to the Gustav Line and Anzio beachhead. The film was originally shot in 16mm color by members of the Army Air Forces. The 12th Combat Camera Unit recorded the combat footage using cameras mounted on some of the P-47s and a B-25 medium bomber equipped as a camera ship to accompany the fighters.

Narrated by Robert Lowery and Eugene Kern,with Lloyd Bridges portraying the thoughts of one of the pilots, Thunderbolt! purports to follow a P-47 Thunderbolt squadron of the group through an interdiction mission from the time they wake up to their return to base afterwards with one aircraft missing.[Note 1] The directors edited their footage to recreate a mission against an unidentified target in northern Italy that resembles that of a May 1, 1944, mission against a railroad tunnel at Rignano sull’Arno, Italy, in which Lt. Col. Gilbert O. Wymond Jr. was awarded the Silver Star for destroying an ammunition dump concealed in a house near Siena and incurred severe damage to his P-47, Hun Hunter XIV. Wymond appears prominently with his P-47 throughout the documentary.

Both John Shoffner’s P-47D Thunderbolt “Wicked Wabbit” and Neal Melton’s P-47D Thunderbolt “Hun Hunter XVI” are based at the museum and regularly fly at airshows as a two-ship formation or they can be requested separately for airshows, flybys and film.

The Tennessee Museum of Aviation, a “living” museum located in Sevierville, TN and it is said to be the only place in the country to house two airworthy P-47 Thunderbolts. For more information visit www.tnairmuseum.com

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