This is a North American P-51D Mustang. one of the most iconic planes of the Second World War.
The P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 66 two-stage two-speed supercharged engine, and was armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2/AN Browning machine guns. This meant that it could fly higher, faster and out manoeuvre most of its adversaries.
This particular P-51 was assigned to Lt. George Hardy. George hardy was one of the Tuskegee Airmen, more famously known as the Red Tails. The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. During World War II, black Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to the Jim Crow laws and the American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subjected to discrimination, both within and outside the army. All black military pilots who trained in the United States trained at Moton Field, the Tuskegee Army Air Field, and were educated at Tuskegee University, located near Tuskegee, Alabama; the group included five Haitians from the Haitian Air Force (Alix Pasquet, Raymond Cassagnol, Pelissier Nicolas, Ludovic Audant, and Eberle Guilbaud). There was also one pilot from Port of Spain, Trinidad, Eugene Theodore.
The Tuskegee Airmen originally flew Curtiss P-40 Warhawks and later moved to the plane they would be famous for The P-51 Mustang.
By the end of the Second World War the Tuskegee Airmen would be some of the most decorated Airmen of the war. Their bravery and triumph over adversity, not only on the battlefield but, also at home in the country they were protecting should be inspiration to us all.
Hardy began retirement in November 1971. His decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor, the Air Medal with 11 Oak Leaf Clusters and the Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster. George received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service from Tuskegee University in 2006. Now in his nineties, he lives in Sarasota, Fla.
Tagged: , P-51 , Lt. George Hardy , Hardy , George , USAAF , WWII , Merlin , Packard , 11 , hangar , hangar 11 , Tuskegee , P-51 D , airplane , plane , tails , tail , red