"Robot dog" names grounded in Checkertail heritage

  • Published
  • By 325th Fighter Wing Historian
  • 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The chosen names of Tyndall Air Force Base's four Quad-legged Unmanned Ground Vehicles, or "robot dogs" are grounded in the 325th Fighter Wing's proud Checkertail heritage - paying tribute to our legacy of excellence and innovation. Each dog is named after an operation the 325th flew in support of WWII. 

Operation TORCH

After activation on 3 August 1942, the 325 Fighter Group deployed the 317TH, 318TH, and 319TH Fighter Squadron P-40 Warhawks to North Africa.  There the 325TH Fighter Group joined with other U.S. and British forces already on the ground to execute Operation TORCH, which began on 8 November 1942.  The operation sought to expel Vichy French, Italian, and German forces from North Africa and to secure Allied shipping in the Western Mediterranean.  The 325TH Fighter Group valiantly contributed air dominance, close air support, and surface ship attacks in the defeat of 250,000 Italian and German air and ground forces in North Africa.         


The 325TH Fighter Group provided direct support of the reduction of Axis forces on the Italian island of Pantelleria from 11 May to 11 June 1943.  Providing dawn to dusk operations, the Checkertails flew 646 P-40 Warhawk sorties providing bomber escort and interdiction missions that expended nearly 80 tons of munitions on surface vessels, the harbor, and Axis air defense gun emplacements.  The 325 FG along with Allied forces employed an innovative air assault strategy focused on total effects to such a devastating effect that the Italian garrison commander surrendered the island one hour prior to the landing of British marines.       

Operation HUSKY   

The capture of Sicily was a prerequisite for the invasion through lower Italy and demanded both close air support of the Allies’ initial amphibious and airborne invasion of Sicily but also required suppression of Axis air forces on Sardinia that jeopardized U.S. Army forces under General George S. Patton.  The 325TH Fighter Group flew 2,574 P-40 Warhawk sorties in 63 missions from 18 June to 14 September, with 89 aerial victories.  On 30 July alone, the 325 FG shot down 21 German aircraft in dogfights over Sardinia and earned the Distinguished Unit Citation.      

Operation FRANTIC (Frantic Joe)

The 325TH Fighter Group participated in the first ever “shuttle bombing,” or agile combat employment, from 2 to 11 June 1944.  The 325TH FG deployed 64 P-51 Mustangs as escorts for 70 B-17s Flying Fortress bombers attacking railheads at Debreczen, Hungary and Nazi air bases in east Europe while simultaneously transporting Checkertail crew chiefs and weapons specialists from Foggia AB, Italy to Soviet Union air bases at Pyriatyn, Ukraine.  The 325TH Fighter Group maintainers regenerated the Mustangs for additional B-17 escort missions to Focsani, Romania two days later.  In the final return mission of the operation, 325 FG Mustangs escorted the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers as they attacked oil refineries in Poland.  In all, the 325 FG Mustangs shot down nine enemy fighters throughout the operation.