Col. John Landers’ P-51 while with the 357th Fighter Group

This 357th FG P-51 has been very obscure for quite a while. Col. John Landers scored 6 victories in the Pacific Theater while flying P-40s with the 49th FG. Col. Landers then flew with several 8th AF units in the European Theater flying P-38s and P-51s, all of which were named Big Beautiful Doll. Col. Landers scored 4 victories while flying with the 38th FS, 55th FG and was promoted to command the 357th FG between 10 Oct – 2 Dec 1944. He was then transferred to Duxford, where he commanded the 78th FG. Col. Landers scored 8.5 victories in the 8th AF for a total of 14.5 victories. (4.5 victories were in the P-51)

These photos show Col. Landers and his P-51 Big Beautiful Doll. The first photo below shows the aircraft with Squadron Code CG, 38th FS, 55FG. This photo was taken at the 55thFG or just after it arrived at the 357th FG. Since it is a black and white photo, you cannot tell if the nose colors are the 55th FG green and yellow, or the 357th FG red and yellow. The second photo is the only known photo of Big Beautiful Doll in 357th markings. The code letters B6 of the 357thFG, 363rd FS are clearly visible

 

 

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