John Bingham McKibbon, Jr. (Jack) was born on February 10, 1924 in Newnan Georgia. Jack graduated from Gainesville High School in 1941. He completed two years of college at North Georgia College in Dahlonega. In December 1942 he joined the United States Air Force. He started active duty in 1943 at the age of 19. Jack completed his Air Force pilot training and in April 1944 he "got his wings". Jack was the pilot of a B-25 bomber. He had a five man crew including himself, a copilot/navigator and three gunners. Jack and his crew followed the war north completing 59 "tree top flying" ten-hour missions. Jack was the bombardier and pilot dropping 100 pound parachute or delayed detonation bombs or 500 pound bombs on Japaneses ships and aerodromes (airports). The treetop flying provided the advantage of surprise and Jack's planes were never significantly hit by enemy fire. Jack did witness six other U.S. aircraft shot down. In 1951, during the Korean War, Jack was called back to active duty in the Air Force. For 21 months he was stationed in Tampa, Florida where he flew tanker aircraft. He worked for the Strategic Air Command refueling B-47 and B-50 bombers. This was early in the evolution of in-air refueling and Jack trained other pilots flying between Tampa and Puerto Rico.
1. First Flight, 8 years old on Good Year Blimp
2. First Airplane flight in Piper Cub with Duard Gilmer (Lee's brother) 14 years old
3. Flew model airplanes 14-17 years old
4. Dec. 7, 1942 signed up for Army Air Corp.
5. Feb. 15, 1943 called to active duty
6. Pre-cadet training, Miami Beach, Williamsport, PA where he flew Piper Cubs
7. July 1943 was classified for pilot training at Nashville, TN Classification Center
8. Class 44-D pre-flight Maxwell Field, AL Aug - Sept 1943
9. Primary flight school - Flying P-17 Arcadia, FL
10. Solo flight Oct. 20, 1943
11. Basic flying school Flying B.T. 13-AT-10 nov, Dec, 1943 Bainbridge, GA.
12.Advanced flying school Albany, GA Flew B-25's. Received his wings and commission on April 1-5, 1944. Three cadets had the same advanced instructor in B-25's. Both of his fellow cadets were lost in the SW Pacific.
13. B-25 training in Greenville, SC, Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA
14. August 1944 was flown to Nadzab New Guinea
15. He joined 345 Bomb Group. 498 Bomb Squad on at Biak New Guinea. Flew combat missions from Biak to the Philippines.
16. December 1944 to Leyte in Philippines. Flew combat in Philippines, South China Sea
17. Jan. 1945 Moved to San Marcelino, Subic Bay in the Philippines. From there he flew combat missions as far as French and China and Formosa (now Taiwan).
18. June 1945 had completed 59 combat missions and was flown home and discharged.
19. March 10, 1951 - He was called back to active duty with the U.S. Air Force and stationed at McDill AFB in Tampa, FL. While there he flew C-47, C45 and KC97. He flew air to air tankers refueling the B-50 and B-47. During this time he was in Seattle, WA at the Boeing aircraft plant picking up new KC 97 and flying them back to McDill. He was told by a Boeing employee to be at the airport at 11:00 a.m. the next morning. He was there and saw the maiden voyage of the B-52.
20. He was stationed at McDill for 15 months then was transferred to Lockbourne Air Force Base in Columbus, OH for the remaining time of duty. For the 6 months that he was there he flew only KC 97 air to air refuelers.
21. December 1952 he was mustered out of the military for the second time.
22. December 14945 bought a 55 HP Taylor craft. He did a little barnstorming. He even flew it to San Francisco and back.
23. Flew with some of the Navy pilots when Gainesville airport was a naval air station
24. For a short time, had a flying school at the Gainesville airport after the Navy left.
25. Flew many different airplanes
26. In his business career he has owned a Beechcraft 435 Bonanza, Beechcraft C35 Bonanza, 185 Cessna, Aero Commander 560A push pull Cessna, his company had a King Air Turbo Beachcraft and now has a Cessna J5 Jet.
All of Jack's children and his wife have soled. He has also taken off and landed a Beech King Air when he was 85 years old.
In recognition of his many outstanding accomplishments, Jack B. McKibbon, Jr. was enshrined into the Georgia Aviation Hall of Fame on April 28, 2018.