Dragon DRW50133 USN Goodyear FG-1D Corsair Fighter with Folding Wings - "Skipper's Orchid" HQSS-22, Ryukyu Islands, June 1945 (1:72 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
Its gull-wing shape made it instantly recognizable. Its characteristic sound while in an attack dive led the Japanese to call it "The Whistling Death." Combined with its high speed, agility and toughness, the Vought F4U Corsair was one of the finest fighters ever built. Originally thought to be too powerful to fly from a carrier, the Corsair weaved a path of destruction in battle after battle during WWII, totally outclassing the much-feared Zero. The last of the great piston-engine fighters, the Corsair went on to become an important component of the US naval air power during the Korean War. Even while it was being replaced by jet aircraft, pilots flying this tough warbird were credited with downing a few MiG-15 jet fighters.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a US Navy FG-1D Corsair fighter, nicknamed "Skipper's Orchid", which was flown by the HQSS-22 (Headquarters Service Squadron). Produced by Goodyear, the FG-1D is identical to the F4U made by Chance-Vought and features actual folding wings!
Wingspan: 6.5 inches
Length: 5 inches
Release Date: October 2005
Historical Account: "Under New Management" - In 1879, the Japanese Meiji government announced the annexation of the Ryukyus. Messengers sent by the Ryukyuan king had knelt outside the Zongli Yamen, the Chinese foreign affairs office in Beijing, for three days, pleading not to be separated from China. China, weakened from internal corruption and colonial occupation, refused the request to send military protection. Instead, China made diplomatic objections and asked former United States President Ulysses S. Grant to arbitrate. Grant decided that Japan's claim to the islands was stronger and ruled in Japan's favor. The claims of the indigenous Ryukyuans to the land were ignored.
In the process of annexation, the Japanese military assassinated Ryukyu politicians and civilians who opposed the takeover. The Ryukyu Kingdom became part of its northern neighbour, the Satsuma han. Later, it became its own prefecture, Okinawa Prefecture, when the prefectural system was adopted nationwide. Compulsory Japanese education was enforced on the Ryukyu children, whereby they were taught Japanese language, culture and identity, while strictly forbidden the use of their native language.
Military activity on the island, before and during World War II, especially the Battle of Okinawa, had a devastating effect on the Okinawan people. A huge loss of civilian life left many feeling that they were being mistreated by both the Japanese and American military. Okinawa remains the poorest prefecture in Japan to this day.
The US was granted control over the Ryukyu Islands south of 29°N latitude amongst other Pacific islands, under the San Francisco Peace Treaty between the Allied Powers and Japan. US military control over Okinawa began in 1945 with establishment of the Okinawa Advisory Council. This organization eventually became the government of the Ryukyu Islands which existed from 1952 to 1972. Sovereignty was given to Japan in 1972.