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Guatemalan Air Force in 1954

The following message was sent by Mario Overall in response to the La Voz de Liberacion article. It is placed here with his permission.

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Dear Mr. Moore:

I've read your interesting article about the Radio Liberación and would like to make some corrections:

First of all, the CIA was operating indeed, newer and powerful fighters in comparison with our weak air force. The "liberation" army had three P-47N "thunderbolts" and two P-51D "Mustang" fighters. Our Air force was operating old P-26 "peashooters", a 1930's fighter design, that were slower and defenseless in front of the relatively "high tech" fighters of the CIA.

Secondly, our Air Force DID RESPONSE THE ATTACKS, at least one of them, on June 18th, 1954. That day, a P-26, piloted by a young liutenant called Juan Castillo Ralda, was shot down by the "sulfato", over Palín, Escuintla. There are rumours that another P-26 was shot down that day too, over San Jose Pinula.

It's wrong to think that the CIA planes were weaker than ours. Even for that time when the USAF was facing out the types mentioned. the Thunderbolts and Mustangs were never seen in that part of Central America until the invasion started. Not even Mexico was operating that type of fighters.

From June 18th, the Air Force commander, Colonel Luis Antonio Girón, forbid the fighter pilots to fly against the sulfato, cause it was suicidal trying to beat a huge P-47 with a poor armed P-26.

Colonel Jacobo Arbenz tried to get a couple of Mustangs during 1952 and again in 1953, but, every time, the US government did not aprove the buy or simply intimidate the vendor.

For more information about this topics, please visit my website and send me any questions to aeroguat@geocities.com. P.S. : I have a very rare foto of the sulfato in the website.

Good luck and thanks for your time.

Mario Overall


Webmaster's note: My article was based on library research, not personal knowledge, so I can't explain the discrepancy between the information in the article and that provided by Senor Overall. I do encourage readers to check out his website.

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Association of North American Radio Clubs
DXer of the Year for 1995
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