s/n 44-14223, Lt. Col. Elwyn G. Righetti, CO of 55th FG, 8th AF, Wormingford, United Kingdom,
December 1944–March 1945
Elwyn Guido Righetti, also known as “Eager El”, was
not only the 55th FG top fighter ace but also the most
successful strafing ace in the whole ETO. Righetti
joined the 338th FS, 55th FG in October 1944. At the
age of 29, he was already a matured pilot, however
he lacked the combat experience. Despite his age he
was eager and aggressive, so he was able to boost
morale of his rather tired group. One of Righetti’s
“hobbies” was destroying the locomotives. He also
managed to shoot down two Mistels and destroyed
several Me 262 jets on the ground. Unfortunately,
Righetti’s outstanding achievements were cut short
right before the end of war. On April 17, 1945, exactly
on his 30th birthday, Righetti was shot down by flak
while raiding the airfield near Dresden. He successfully performed the emergency landing and advised
his friends over the radio “Tell the family I’m okay.
Broke my nose on landing. It’s been a hell of a lot
of fun working with you, gang. Be seeing you a little
later.”Since then no one ever heard about Righetti
again. Supposedly he was murdered by the enraged
German civilians. During his short combat career, he
scored 7.5 kills and destroyed 35 enemy aircraft on
the ground. He flew two personal Mustangs (44-14223
and 44-47222), both of them were decorated with the
inscription KATYDID and grasshopper artwork on the
port side of the fuselage.
s/n 44-14292, Col. Claiborne H. Kinnard, CO of 4th FG, 8th AF, Debden, United Kingdom, November 1944
Clairborne Holmes Kinnard was one the most successful pilots in the combat against the ground targets. He
was born on October 29, 1912, in Franklin, Tennessee.
After he obtained his pilot’s certification in 1944, he led
the 354th FS from November 27 until June. On June 12,
1944, he assumed command of the 355th FG which he
led until the end of August. In September he was ordered to 4th FG which he also briefly commanded from
November 3 until November 29, 1944. Then he returned
to 355th FG where he flew until May 1945. During his
combat career he scored eight aerial kills and destroyed further seventeen enemy aircraft on the ground.
Kinnard flew the depicted, unusually painted Mustang
from October to November 1944 as a commander of the
4th FG. His aircraft was decorated with the inscription
Man O’War painted red on the nose’s port side and the
upper surfaces were painted with green camouflage
bands, possibly in the Olive Drab shade. The kill mar-
king were painted on the port side of the canopy frame.
The invasion stripes appearance corresponds to the
modification after the beginning of September 1944
when only the part of the markings remained at the
bottom of the fuselage. From November 3 till November
29, 1944, Kinnard commanded the 4th FG, then he returned to the 355th FG where he served until May 1945.
s/n 44-14237, Capt. William T. Whisner, 487th FS, 352nd FG, 8th AF, Bodney, Great Britain, November 1944
William Thomas Whisner was born in 1923 in Louisiana and on March 16, 1942, enlisted in the Army.
On April 10, 1942, he started his pilot training and received his wings on February 15, 1943, at Napier Field
in Alabama. On February 23, 1943, he was assigned to
487th FS. During 1944 and 1945 he was credited with
15.5 kills and awarded Distinguished Service Cross
twice. He finished the war as Captain and left Army
on August 23, 1945. On October 17, 1947, he returned
to the active duty and on September 1, 1951, he was
promoted to Major. In September 1951 he was ordered to 334th FIS in Korea, part of 4th FIW. Between
September and November 1951, he shot down two
MiG-15s and damaged further five aircraft of the same
type. In December he was ordered to the 25th FIS, 51st
FIW and scored another four victories including one
in the cooperation which made him the seventh fighter ace of the Korean War in the chronological order.
In March 1952 he left Korea with the status of the double ace of two different conflicts and became one of
seven American pilots who achieved such success.
Whisner’s Mustang’s nose was painted in the new, darker shade of blue which 352nd FG started to use in the
fall of 1944 due to its better contrast.