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Truckbusters from Dogpatch
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“The story of this awesome and unique Wing is long overdue. It is a saga that clearly illustrates the gathering and performance of the best, brightest and bravest group of combat fighter pilots and their exceptional support personnel that I have ever known. For me my days as a Truckbuster are truly amongst the very finest days of my life and believe me, as I look back from my ninth decade there have been some great days.”
Lt. General Devol “Rock” Brett, USAF (Ret)

"What a tremendous, true combat history of a fighting outfit. I have never read the equal of this book. Anyone who wants to know what it’s like in combat needs to read 'Truckbusters From Dogpatch.' I read it in awe and I wish you well in your endeavors."
Former Truckbuster pilot Wilfred "Budd" Stapley

“What an amazing book.  Surely, this is a significant and valuable record of an important chapter in American military history.  Truly remarkable!  The scope of it is overwhelming.” Dr. Frances B. Kinne, Chancellor Emeritus, Jacksonville University


• 712 large format pages, 8 1/2 x 11 inch format

• Over 1,000 never-before-published photographs from the Korean War era

• Formerly classified unit history highlights

• Riveting personal accounts from some of the finest Mustang pilots that ever flew this combat work horse

• Chronology of significant events throughout the Korean War

• Extensive glossary of terms and slang used by pilots and airmen during the Korean War

• List of more than 3,500 Korean War veterans of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing

"Truckbusters is a monumental effort by Captain Connors and will certainly fill a big nitch in the history of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing."
Lt. Col. Richard H. Schiebel, USAF (Ret)

Dr. Kerry Romesburg (left), President of Jacksonville University, welcomes a copy of Truckbusters From Dogpatch from author CAPT Tracy D. Connors during a recent visit to the JU campus. Connors is a JU Alumnus. 1st Lt. Archie Connors, to whom Truckbusters is dedicated, was President of the JU Student Council prior to his Korean War service during which he was killed in action.

Col. Rodney S. Fitzpatrick (left), Commander of the “Gator Detachment,” Air Force ROTC at the University of Florida in Gainesville, welcomes a copy of Truckbusters From Dogpatch, the Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Korean War to the Detachment’s library.  It took Navy Captain (retired) Tracy D. Connors (right) over five years to research and write the recently published Truckbusters from Dogpatch, a remarkable, 712-page, true-life account of the U.S. Air Force’s 18th Wing from 1950 to 1953, the time during which their heroic air-combat efforts flying F-51 “Mustang” fighter-bombers helped save South Korea from occupation by North Korean and Chinese military forces.
Captain Connors, a University of Florida Alumnus (BA, ’62) and Gainesville resident, who has previously published 14 management handbooks for not-for-profit organizations, is a guest speaker for both the Air Force and Navy ROTC units at the University.


Truckbusters from Dogpatch by Tracy Daniel Connors

Truckbusters from Dogpatch
The Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing
in the Korean War, 1950-1953

Tracy Daniel Connors

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Softcover | ISBN: 0-9640138-2-7 |712 pages, over 1,000 images/photographs

Bowker BookWire Reviews...accorded a 3 1/2 star review, the highest rating of any listed book to Truckbusters From Dogpatch

"With more than 1,000 black-and-white photographs and an engaging page layout somewhere between magazine and scrapbook, Truckbusters from Dogpatch is a rich historical document, entertaining read, and ode to the dedication, professionalism, creative problem-solving, and sacrifice of more than 3,500 of the Air Force's finest.  Author Tracy D. Connors has done a truly admirable job in writing and assembling this book. From the macroscopic view of the Wing's role in the war, to the workarounds crew chiefs used to keep their Mustangs in the air, Truckbusters from Dogpatch is fascinating, informative, and visceral," BookWire concludes. 

The complete review can be found at

"Truckbusters from Dogpatch is a book that I thought would never be written and that, in fact, could not be written. As a pilot with the 18th Fighter-Bomber Group in the early days of the Korean War, I could see how difficult such an undertaking would be—how do you pull together all the personal stories, not only of the pilots, but also of the maintenance, armament, and supply personnel—the guys that really kept the Wing in business—while never forgetting to integrate these with other events of the war as well of the world?

It couldn’t and wouldn’t have been done without the incredible effort and talent of Capt. Tracy Connors, who initially set out to investigate and tell the story of his uncle, 1st Lt. Archie Connors, then a young fighter pilot with the 18th who heroically lost his life in combat. Tracy interviewed hundreds of Airmen and got their stories, which became a major part of the book.

It is a fascinating read for those of us who were there, but will be even more so for readers not personally familiar with the fighter pilot’s life at “Dogpatch,” and his flying combat in the great F-51 Mustang. It’s all there—a part of our nation’s history and the acid test passed with flying colors for the newly created United States Air Force.

A truly marvelous book by a great author!"

Col. Edward J. Mason, USAF (Ret.)

Truckbusters From Dogpatch: The Combat Diary of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing in the Korean War, 1950-1953, is the incredible story of the men—pilots, ground crew and supporting elements—whose achievements and records during that bloody conflict not only made U.S. Air Force history, but helped the newly fledged military service gain the confidence and respect it now enjoys.

A Most Illustrious Combat Record…

Despite the layering of other, more recent conflicts, the deaths of many participants, and the shifting focus of media or historic attention, enough basic elements of the historical record remain to enable us to establish the combat record of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing during the Korean War as among the most illustrious of any U.S. military unit and in particular, of any U.S. Air Force unit, since the Korean War was the first fought by the newly established, independent Air Force. 

During three years of continuous combat, the component squadrons and support units of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing:

  • Faced unrelenting sortie rates maintained in the face of weather
  • Seasonal assaults of heat and cold
  • Aging aircraft, unsuited for the various missions it and its pilots were called on to fly
  • Maintained an operational level of flexibility and adaptability that is unparalleled in U.S. Air Force history.

For example, the 18th Wing is the only known Air Force flying unit to be asked to convert from one type of aircraft to another—while engaged in combat and without “standing down” from required combat mission completions—not once, but twice and while operating from crude “forward operating bases.” 

This combat history of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing during the Korean War was not prepared or based solely on a painstaking accumulation of facts and dates and statistics. Rather, it is the goal of all who worked on Truckbusters From Dogpatch that it establishes the proud record of a venerable American fighting unit that has earned the right through grit, achievement and sacrifice to be remembered as among the very finest of military units, not just during the Korean War, but even when compared with American combat units of any period in our history.

If anything, the intervening half century since the 18th fought so valiantly in Korea has improved our ability to evaluate its contributions by placing them in the context of fifty years of military history and evolution. We can more accurately assess the legacy it established for subsequent Air Force components, and indeed, the sons and daughters who today continue to serve in the 18th Wing.

American military progress and achievements have been significant over the intervening half century, and has enabled history of freedom to prevail against oppressive governments and ideologies. We must not forget, however, that such progress was gained as a direct result of the richer heritage to which today’s fighting men and women were born and inherited—a heritage established and advanced by the pilots and airmen of the 18th Fighter-Bomber Wing during the Korean War.

Truckbusters From Dogpatch documents the record of achievement established by the 18th during 37 months of arduous, costly combat—to chronicle the events, accomplishments and sacrifices by some of the bravest “characters” in American military history who bequeathed an important heritage to subsequent generations serving in the U.S. Air Force. It moves past the relative sterility of fact and data, to reach a better understanding of the personalities behind the facts and data. It is not intended to be a comparative study of “props vs. jets” or to compare one unit’s statistics to another and thereby declare a “winner.”

Monthly records and reports were used to establish a helpful context and matrix into which as much information as possible could be included that profiled and spotlighted the men actually earning the records. As such, Truckbusters becomes for the reader a gritty, dusty, tent city full of the sounds, smells and character of those who served with the 18th in Korea —pilots, ammorers, mechanics, clerks, medics, and supply sergeants—who still live and speak and fret and worry about how to keep their “Spam Cans” flying. They also teach us important lessons about professionalism, dedication, commitment, bravery, fear, sacrifice and humanity—lessons we should never forget, lest democracy and freedom themselves become potential victims.


The book is organized by month starting with January 1950 and concludes with the Armistice in July 1953. Each month includes a summary of what was happening elsewhere in the war, major developments within the 18th Wing drawn from various unit histories, a chronology of significant events for the war and the Wing, a list of combat losses for that month (including “thumbnail” biographies on all those about which information is available), and concludes with first person accounts and personal experiences.

In addition to the chapters covering each month of combat service for the 18th, Truckbusters includes a Preface, Introduction, Index and an extensive Glossary of terms and slang used by military (particularly members of the 18th Wing) during the Korean War. 

It also includes a list of the more than 3,500 Korean War veterans who served in the 18th Wing.

About the Author

Tracy D. Conners

Tracy D. Connors attended Jacksonville University, and earned Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Rhode Island, respectively. His management and military career includes over 40 years total experience in a variety of responsible positions in business, government and philanthropic organizations.

Since publication of his Nonprofit Organization Handbook (McGraw-Hill) in 1979, the first such management publication in the field, to the present, Nonprofit Handbook: Management Third Edition (John Wiley & Son), the largest and most comprehensive management handbooks in print for nonprofit organizations have been those he prepared.

While a Captain in the Naval Reserve, he was recalled to active duty frequently from 1985 to 1999 to serve in a variety of highly responsible positions for the Secretary of the Navy, the Chief of Naval Operations, and six Echelon I and II Navy commands in the National Capital Region prior to his Navy retirement in 1999.

In addition to Truckbusters From Dogpatch, his other publications include:

  • Nonprofit Handbook: Management (Third Edition + Annual Supplements), John Wiley & Sons, 1990-2001
  • Flavors of the Fjords, Co-authored with Faith R. Connors, BelleAire Press, 1996
  • Volunteer Management Handbook, John Wiley & Sons, 1995
  • Nonprofit Organization Handbook (Second Edition), McGraw-Hill, 1979, 1985
  • Dictionary of Mass Media & Communication, Longman, 1982
  • Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations, AMACOM, 1982

Periodical publications in national news media and trade press, includes: U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings Magazine, All Hands Magazine, Surface Warfare Magazine, Direction, Navy News, Navy Wire Service, International Defense Images, Public Affairs Communicator, and National Productivity Review.

Captain Connors began Truckbusters as a memorial to his uncle, 1st Lt. Archie Connors, a Mustang pilot with the 67th Squadron. During a daring rescue mission on 25 June 1952, Lt. Connors was killed in action. The tribute to his uncle has grown into a much much comprehensive history of the 18th Wing in the Korean War.

“A masterful job...enjoyable to read...large number of photos a strongpoint of the complement the stories well...make them meaningful...does not pull his punches...sobering moments...runs the gamut of the Wing’s experience in Korea...stories are revealing for folks who may not have been aware of what was going on in Korea...some stories paint graphic pictures of combat that may not be palatable to squeamish is about war, after all...includes the humor and pathos of every day events...When looking for a thorough, education history of the air war in Korea,” readers “cannot do any better.”

Graybeard Magazine, Korean War Veterans Association


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