Synopsis of Frank Tinker's Military Tour in Spain
|From January 7 to July 29, 1937, the span of his
combat tour in Spain, Frank Tinker flew a total of 191.20
hours and downed eight enemy fighters.
On March 20, Tinker piloted a Russian Polikarpov I-15 Chato pursuit (CA-056) out of Guadalajara. He destroyed one Fiat CR 32 during a two-hour flight and landed at Valencia. During a second mission that same day, he flew bomber escort and flamed a similar Italian fighter. While patrolling the Teruel front on April 17, in his Chato biplane pursuit (CA-058), he shot down a Condor Legion Heinkel He 51.
His next victories occurred after his assignment to the Soviet la Escuadrillas de Moscas (I-16s) commanded by Captain Ivan A. Lakeev. On June 2, Tinker dogfought with Fiats while flying bomber escort over Segovia. He bested a Fiat while flying an I-16 Number (CM-070). On June 16, he again destroyed a CR 32 in his Mosca fighter (CM-023). Scarcely a month later, on July 12, Tinker became the first American combat flyer to down a German Messerschmitt BF 109. He recorded his next "kill" five days later when he brought down a second Messerschmitt while on escort duty. Tinker notched his last victory the following day near Brunete (July 18) when he overcame a Fiat while escorting a squadron of R-5 Rasante bombers.
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