P-51D-15, 44-15492, Lt. Billy Clemmons, 38th FS, 55th FG, 8th AF, Wormingford, United Kingdom, April 1945
Billy Clemmons started his pilot training in January 1943 and in February 1944 obtained his “wings“. After he completed his training in August 1944 he was assigned to 38th FS, 55th FG. In the course of his war-time career he flew 62 combat missions and scored four and half air victories including one individual and one shared kill of the Me 262 jet. He destroyed five more aircraft on the ground. He decorated his personal Mustang with an Indian’s head with inscription “Huacoar“ on the port side of the nose and the starboard featured the inscription “My Gal Sal“. During the Korean War Clemmons was called back to the active duty and attached to the 75th Fighter Incerceptor Squadron which flew F-86 Sabre jets. Then he was ordered to the 513th FIS in England and France. After his return to the United States he was assigned to the Flight Training Headquarters as an instructor on T-37 and T-38. He attented several military schools, including the Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. Consequently he was attached to the Department of the Chiefs of Staff in Pentagon, Washington D.C. and later took part in the introduction of the global military command and management system which was, in fact, the predecessor to the internet. After he finished his military career for several years he worked for Waco Hotel Supply and in the end he started his own restaurant equipment company, Clemco Restaurant Equipment Co.
P-51D-15, 44-14985, Maj. Edward B. Giller, 343rd
FS, 55th FG, 8th AF, Wormingford, United Kingdom,
Edward Giller was born in Jacksonville, Illinois, in 1918. He graduated from the Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri and in 1940, the University of Illinois with BS in chemical engineering. In September 1941 he joined the military and at the same time the pilot school where he gained his wings in April 1942. During WWII he commanded the 343rd FS and later became the deputy commander of the 55th FG. As a fighter pilot he flew 115 combat missions and logged 465 hours in P-38 and P-51. He destroyed three enemy aircraft, including Me 262 jet and six more airplanes on the ground. Giller flew two Mustangs, s/n 44-14985 and s/n 44-15701. Both of his Mustangs were christened “Millie G“ after his wife Mildred who was a flight attendant. Giller’s Mustang sported the standard 343rd FS marking i.e. black prancing horse on the yellow rudder. After the war, in 1948, he obtained MS in the chemical engineering and in 1950 a doctorate in the chemical engineering. He served as an executive director of the Weapons Effect Division center. After that he became an assistant director and then director of the research at the Air Force Special Weapons Center at Kirtland airbase where he also acted as a USAF liason officer in the Orion, nuclear spaceship project. He passed away in October 2017 at the age of 99.
P-51D-20, 44-64147, Capt. Richard A. Hewitt, 82nd
FS, 78th FG, 8th AF, Duxford, United Kingdom, April 1945
Richard A. “Dick” Hewitt joined the 78th FG based at Duxford in September 1943 and flew with this unit until the end of hostilities. The unit operated P-47 but in December 1944 converted to P-51D Mustang and in the end of that month already flew its first mission with them. Hewitt logged 20 missions flying this type out of his total 100 missions. On March 21, 1945, he assumed command of the 82nd FS after he had shot down three Bf 109 two days earlier. On April 17 he destroyed a Me 262 on the ground after he had shot down another Schwalbe shortly before the landing at the Lechfeld airfield. This kill however remained unconfirmed because his wingman, the only witness to this kill, was consequently shot down and became POW. Hewitt ended the war after two tours of duty during which he logged 426 hours. Official Hewitt’s score was four aerial victories plus four individual and one shared enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground. During his second tour of duty, Dick was promoted to the 82nd FS commander. His awards include Silver Star, four DFC and 13 Air Medals. The inscription “Big Dick” on his Mustang refers to Hewitt’s nickname. After the war he wrote a book “Target of Opportunity.”
P-51D-20, 44-72218, Lt Col. John D. Landers, CO of 78th
FG, Duxford, United Kingdom, March 1945
John Dave Landers was born on August 23, 1920, in Joshua, Texas. He joined the Army Air Force in April 1941. After completing the pilot training, In January 1942 he was assigned to the 9th FS in Australia, a unit that flew P-40s. In the Pacific theatre, he scored six kills, and in January 1943, he was called back to the States. There, he served as a flight instructor, but in April 1944, on his own request, was reassigned to a combat unit. It was 38th FS based at Wormingford, operating P-38, which converted to P-51 as of July 1944. After being promoted to Lt. Col., he assumed command of the 357th FG, which he led from October to December 1944. After some downtime in the United States, he returned to Great Britain and was named CO of 78th FG, holding this post until the end of the Second World War. In December 1945, he left the military and worked in construction. He died on September 12, 1989.
P-51D-10, 44-14372, Capt. Kirk B. Everson, 504th
FS, 339th FG, 8th AF, Fowlmere, United Kingdom, April
Everson‘s airwar career took off in 1945 only. Regardless, he achieved great successes in the numerous diving strikes on the German-occupied airfields. Mustang he regularly flew was inherited from Richard C. Penrose who had christened it “Beaver Chant“. Everson renamed it “Mery Belt“. On April 4, 1945 he shared a victory over Me 262 above Parchim. Three days lated he shot down a Bf 109 nearby Celle. On April 10, during the strafing attack on the Neuruppin airfield, he destroyed three enemy aircraft and on April 16 three Fw 190 fell victims to his guns at Klatovy airfield. On the following day Everson re-appeared over the Klatovy airfield and this time he claimed the destruction of seven airplanes.
P-51D-10, 44-14419, Capt. William B. Price, 350th
FS, 353rd FG, 8th AF, Raydon, United Kingdom, December
Bill Price was a member of the 350th FS, 353rd FG from November 1942 till December 1944 and flew with it 108 missions in two tours of duty. Flying P-47 he achieved two aerial victories and four on the ground. After the unit converted to new P-51D Mustang he scored his last kill at the controls of the aircraft named “Janie“. Price’s Mustang was camouflaged with a green paint on the upper surfaces, probably British Dark Green. The aircraf nose sported the black and white checkerboard, identification marking of the 353rd FG.
P-51D-20, 44-63684, Lt. William B. Bailey, 352nd
FS, 353rd FG, 8th AF, Raydon, United Kingdom, May 1945
Lt. William Bradford Bailey commanded the 352nd FS since its formation in October 1942 until July 7, 1944 and in the end of the war he was one of the most experienced pilots of the unit. After his long tenure with 352nd FS, he was transferred to the 353rd FG Headquarters and until the end of the conflict he flew in total 186 missions (454.05 flight hours). On March 2, 1945, a the controls of his Mustang named “Double Trouble Two“ he claimed two Fw 190 destroyed south of Wittenberg. These were last Bailey’s kills of the war. His final score stood at three aerial and three ground victories.
P-51D-10, 44-14896, Maj. Leonard K. Carson, 362nd
FS, 357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, United Kingdom, September
Captain Leonard “Kit” Carson was one of the most successful pilots of the 357th FG. He finished the war as a commander of the 363rd FS with 18.5 kills to which he added three airplanes destroyed on the ground. He flew four P-51 Mustangs, all of them carried his personal inscription “Nooky Booky” on the engine cowling. The aircraft s/n 44-14896 was his third. It sported seven kill markings on the side of the fuselage which Carson scored till the beginning of November 1944. The plane was marked with the standard identification stripes including the invasion bands on the fuselage. Carson’s Mustang was camouflaged in the dark green paint on the upper surfaces including the landing flaps’ interiors. The paint was probably British RAF Dark Green. The lower surfaces were painted in Medium Sea Grey.
P-51D-10, 44-14450, Capt. Clarence E. Anderson, 363rd
FS, 357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, United Kingdom, October
“Bud“ Anderson was born on January 13, 1922 in Oakland, California. In January 1942 he joined the Army and till September 28, 1942 served as an Air Cadet. In November 1943 he was assigned to the 363rd FS, 357th FG. He finished his first tour of duty in June 1944 and returned to the United States for two months. In September 1944 he returned to his original unit. In the beginning of December 1944 he was promoted to Major and in January 1945 finished his second tour of duty. In total he flew 116 combat missions and logged 1423 flight hours. His final score was 17 confirmed aerial victories. After the war he mostly flew as a test pilot and he retired from the Air Force on March 31, 1972. Mustang flown by Clarence “Bud“ Anderson during his second tour was initially camouflaged on all upper surfaces, including the landing flaps interiors, in dark green paint, probably RAF Dark Green. The lower surfaces were painted in Medium Sea Grey. In the end of 1944 Bud had camouflage paint removed from his Mustang and flew it in the natural metal finish. “Bud“ Anderson named his new Mustang the same as the previous ones, “Old Crow“ and shot down in it four more German aircraft. After he finished his second tour of duty, his “Old Crow“ was handed over to Lt. James Taylor from the 363rd FS and renamed “Pretty Pix“. After the war the aircraft was transferred to Neubiberg air base in Germany where it ended up as a scrap metal.
P-51D-15, 44-14888, Cpt. Charles E. Yeager, 363rd FS, 357th FG, 8th AF, Leiston, United Kingdom, October 1944 - January 1945
Charles Elwood “Chuck“ Yeager belongs to the most famous pilots of all times thanks to the fact that on October 14, 1947, flying an experimental Bell X-1 rocket powered aircraft, as a first human he flew at the speed of sound. Before that, during WWII, he had become a fighter ace. “Chuck“ Yeager was born on February 13, 1923 in the little town of Hamlin in West Virginia. He joined the army shortly after graduating from the high school in September 1941 and in December 1942 he was accepted to the pilot training. In March of the following year, he gained his wings and was attached to the 363rd FS, 357th FG equipped with Bell P-39 Airacobra. In England, the 357th FG, with its 363rd FS, was attached to the 8th Air Force and converted to P-51 Mustangs. Yeager flew three Mustangs, all named “Glamorous Glen“ after his fiancee Glennis Dickhouse. Yeager flew his first combat mission in February 1944. On March 4 he scored his first victory against a Bf 109 but on the following day the luck turned its back on him. He was shot down near French Bordeaux. After he successfuly bailed out, he avoided capture with the help of the French Resistance and returned back to England via Spain. His final score at the end of war stood at 12 kills including a Me 262. He continued in the successful aviation career after the war. He commanded the 405th Fighter Wing in Vietnam and in 1970s worked as a Director of the Flight Safety of the USAF. He retired on February 25, 1975 having logged 10,131.6 flight hours on 361 (!) different types of aircraft. He passed away on December 8, 2020 at the age of 97.