Captain Don Bochkay "B" Model Mustangs
For many years, the P-51s flown by Don Bochkay have been clouded by confusion. As Churchill said " an enigma wrapped in a mystery" or something like that. He had at least three, maybe four "D" models, but all we will cover here are the B model "Razorbacks". He flew two of these (maybe 3). Two serial numbers are usually listed, 42-103041 and 43-6963, but almost all sources get them backwards. For instance, ACES AND WINGMAN, Vol 2, says his first one was 43-6963, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and then he got SPEEDBALL ALICE, 42-103041.
Problem is, I have never seen a photo of either that showed the tail number and nose. The Photos of SPEEDBALL ALICE show it with a red and yellow nose, numerous mission marks and at least 4 victory marks (probably more, blocked out by people.) This could not possibly be 42-103041 (which was a P-51C-1) as it was lost with Stubby Gambill on 8 March, 1944. It would never have had a red and yellow nose as it was lost before they came into use.
I had never seen a photo of ALICE IN WONDERLAND, but found one in ACES AND WINGMEN (Shown below), which shows the white nose and name. The above photo shows Don next to the rudder of 041. Can't be sure it is the same machine, but I think I would bet it is.
357th FG Historian Merle Olmsted
Buck Mills, Don's crew chief (and cousin, I think) once told me that his first airplane was B-1, which he flew for only four missions. He may be referring to 041 (which was actually a C Model), or he may be right, there may have been a third razor back.
However, at this point, I'm convinced that ALICE IN WONDERLAND was 42-103041, lost 8 March 1944, and SPEEDBALL ALICE which he flew for many missions was 43-6963.