F-16 Fighting Falcon in action by Lou Drendel

By Lou Drendel

Keep on with the evolution of the F-16 scuffling with Falcon during the prototype, accomplished version and additional weaponry

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These had been flown exclusively by the Twentieth Air Force, which was commanded by USAAF Chief General Hap Arnold, and managed in the field by General Curtis LeMay. The Strategic Air Command's new commander had been an early supporter of the intercontinental bomber concept, but his experience had been with tactical air power. When he assumed command of the Strategic Air Command at Boiling Field on March 21,1946, he inherited an organization with a mission unlike what he commanded in World War II.

Critics had conceded that progress was being made in size, but what about military effectiveness and necessity? Would the B-36 be a milestone or a millstone? The geopolitical situation of the United States in the world at the end of the war was one of unprecedented strength. For the moment, the concept of a bomber of intercontinental capability was not generally popular in some circles. " Other crewmembers were also recognized at the testimonal dinner held at the Blackstone Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.

The end of the war, and assignment of new administrative personnel to the Convair Fort Worth Division, gave a new feeling of enthusiasm for the XB36 program. Retired Navy Commander Roland G. Mayer succeeded George Newman as plant manager. Mayer had been in the Navy 22 years, and was a recognized expert on lighter-than-air aircraft, having served aboard the dirigibles Shenandoah, Akron and Macón. Ray 0. Ryan had been brought from the Downey (formerly Vultee) Division in January 1945 by Sparky Sebold as assistant manager of the Experimental Shop, a month after the shop had been placed under engineering control instead of the division-manager.

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