Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Here are some Warbirds flown by Irishmen in World War II.  Thank you for your sacrifice and for protecting our freedom.

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2nd Lt. Gerald Devine, 350th FS 353rd FG, P-51D Mustang 44-14673 LH-I “Mad Irishman”

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Lockheed P-38J 42-67842 “Irish Lassie”

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1st Lt. Gilbert O’Brien, 357th FG, P-51B “Shanty Irish”

Collings Foundation Continues To Grow

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” while in service with the West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron.

The Collings Foundation is continuing to expand it’s collection of WWII aircraft since it recently acquired second B-17G for their collection “Shady Lady”, a P-38L Lightning, a Bf-109 G-10, and  a second P-40 Warhawk in August 2015. (See article here) The Foundation’s North American TF-51D is nearing completion and also they recently acquired a very rare Pt-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” under restoration at American Aero Services in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The Collings Foundation’s North American TF-51D ‘Toulouse Nuts’, will be joining the National Wings of Freedom Tour in 2016.  The Collings Foundation says that their TF-51D is one of the finest restored to date, “…tens of thousands of hours went into rebuilding this fighter to ‘brand new’ condition. Every surface, rivet, wire and instrument is perfect. The 1450 hp Merlin engine looks like it just came off the factory floor”.  The Foundation’s example of the TF-51D is one of three original survivors in the world, and will be painted in its original colors, “…as a West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron P-51 called ‘Toulouse Nuts’ “.  “The TF-51D model is a unique Mustang variant with a full dual cockpit and bubble canopy. Following in the footsteps of the Foundation’s beloved P-51C Mustang “Betty Jane,” the new TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” will be available for flight training during the national Wings of Freedom Tour. Imagine flying the legendary P-51 Mustang as it had just rolled out of TEMCO / North American Aviation!”

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The Collings Foundation’s newly acquired PT-17 Stearman, operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s Stearman was flown by Tuskegee Institute Field Instructor James J. Hyett on several training flights during WWII.

The Foundation, also recently acquired the only flyable PT-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen s/n 41-25454.  The only other example is on static display in the Smithsonian.  According to the Collings Foundation, “the U.S. Army accepted the aircraft from Boeing’s Wichita Division in 1942. It was transferred to Tuskegee Institute Field, Alabama in 1943…In November, 1944 this Stearman was sent to Bush Field, Augusta where it was stricken from U.S. Army records and moved to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for sale”.  This Stearman was transferred to the Collings Foundation in 2015, after undergoing a meticulous restoration by Joseph Armstrong of Towanda, Pennsylvania to brand new condition.  The Collings Foundation plans to operate this Stearman to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and, “… to those who overcame racial discrimination and persevered against adversaries to become one of the greatest fighter pilot groups in United States history. The Tuskegee are credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earned over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements during WWII”.

 

Information Credit: Collings Foundation

Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly