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 (
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.
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