Painted by Jerry Zollman
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
I tell my Baptist friends that it is named after the smartest bird that flies in the sky, the Crow, but my drinking buddies all know that it was named after that good old Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey of the same name. Now, my wife Ellie, of 54 plus years likes to kid around at times and will say "Most guys name their plane after their wife or sweet heart, what must people thinks is going on here?"
In aerial combat it did not matter to me which type of enemy fighter I encountered. I felt that the Mustang could out perform both the ME109 and the FW190 and treated them pretty much the same. The FW190 had an air cooled radial engine and could probably take a little more damage than the liquid cooled ME109. I never encountered any of the twin engine fighters such as the ME110 & ME 410 but it appeared to me that the guy that got there first shot down the most of them.
I did see ME262s but was never in a position to shoot one down. The ME262 jet fighters were about 100 knots faster than the Mustang. However, if they tried to engage the P51 in a turning dogfight they would quickly lose the advantage as we could easily out turn the ME262. Our 357th Fighter Group shot down 17 ME262ís, the most in the 8th Air Force. Even if the ME262 had been used properly in combat operations it probably would not have effected the outcome of the war. We had so many fighters we could have waited for them to land at their home base.
A fractional victory is one shared with others. In my case I shared a victory with the other members of my flight. We were engaged in a wild dogfight with some ME109ís and ended up on the deck. During the engagement I noticed a large shadow moving on the ground. After we finished off the ME109ís I gathered my flight of four together and investigated the mysterious shadow. It turned out to be a camouflaged HE111 trying to get out of the area by flying right on the deck. We pulled up along side and set up a regular gunnery training pattern each taking a turn. All flight members got in one or two passes. We silenced the rear gunner, set one engine on fire and the other smoking badly. The pilot made a belly landing in an open field but the HE111 broke in half and caught fire. We saw at least two crew members escape. Everyone in my flight of four P51ís had made a firing pass on the bomber so I shared the victory with all flight members.
I flew two tours of combat, 116 combat mission, 480 flying hours and during that time I had several one vs. one engagements all of which we pretty exciting. During my first tour on May 27 1944 I shot down two ME 109ís on a very clear day while we were protecting the 8th Air Force bombers on there way into Germany. We were attacked by four ME109s and managed to shoot down three of them. The first one was relatively easy as I got him from dead astern in level flight. The second victory came after an extended fight with just the two of us going at it. After considerable maneuvering I finally hit him in a very steep climb. From above thirty thousand feet the badly smoking ME109 dove straight into the ground with a tremendous explosion. This engagement is told in the first chapter of my book in great detail.
6 How old were you when you were flying aerial combat?
We were all very young, ranging from maybe 19 through 26 but most pilots were in there early twenties. My birthday is January 13 1922. My first combat mission was in Feb 1944 and I finished my second combat tour on 15 January 1945. Essentially, I was age 22 while I was flying combat during WW II.
7 You are frequently referred to as Chuck Yeagerís wing man, is that true?
No, I was a flight leader in the 363rd Fighter Squadron and later the Operations Officer. Chuck Yeager was assigned to the same Squadron as a fighter pilot and later became a flight leader. Chuck Yeager and I flew together on many combat missions but I never flew as his assigned wing man. The misconception started when Chuck wrote his book "Yeager" and my photo was erroneously captioned Wing Man Bud Anderson without his knowledge. It was corrected in later printings but when the paperback came out the error was repeated in thousands of copies.
8. What kind of aircraft did you shoot down?
Aerial victories: FW190 - 9 destroyed (2 probably destroyed and 1 damaged)
ME109 - 7 destroyed (1 damaged)
HE111 - 1/4 (shared with three other flight members)
Ground victories: ME109 - 1 destroyed
The P51D Mustang of course is my favorite propeller driven aircraft. It is a beautiful sight to see in the air and has a wonderful unique special sound of its own. It is a fun aircraft to fly and of course it got me through WW II without a scratch. Lots of nostalgia there!
The F86 Saber is my favorite subsonic jet fighter. Here again it has the beautiful lines and was eye catching in flight. The F86 has very honest flight characteristics and was very predictable, you could trust it.
Other than the P51 and the F86 the very latest or newest plane I fly quickly becomes a favorite. Since I retired from the Air Force I have been very fortunate to fly in the front seat of and F15B and the back seat of a two place F16B. All new fighters are controlled by computers and the best flight characteristics can be built into them. Therefore they are all a joy to fly. Further, the newer the airplane, the more of the latest equipment they have to assist you. The latest thing that I flew was the F15 Eagle and it surely is a favorite.
10. If the P-51 Mustang had never been built would it have effected the outcome of the war?
There is no doubt that the Mustang played an important role in gaining air superiority in the skies of Europe that permitted the invasion of Europe and the fall of Germany. It is just an academic question and no one really knows what would have happened if the Mustang had not shown up at just the right time. In my opinion it would have probably extended the war some but not the final outcome. Perhaps we would have kept working on the P-38 extending their range with bigger external tanks and perhaps modifications to carry more internal fuel like was done with the Mustang fuselage tank. I read some where that this was going on but worked was stopped when the Mustang became so successful. As long as we are speculating maybe we would have built something better than the Mustang when the challenge presented itself. There was a fighter being built to specifically escort the bombers over Europe, the XP-75. When the Mustang was modified and showed such great promise the P-75 was canceled. It is a good thing because the P-75 probably could not have defended itself let alone protect the bombers. But maybe its failure would have sparked another new design. Also the Thunderbolt was modified for longer range, the P-47N, and it arrived it time to participate in the last stages of the war in the Pacific. So it certainly would have been available in Europe if that the conflict in that theater had been extended. Also think about the atomic bomb perhaps if the war in that theater was extended we would have been used the bomb in Europe to end the war. You can come up with all kinds of ideas. But, as I said, we will never know what the impact would have been and it is just an academic exercise to speculate what would have happened if we did not have a Mustang during WW II. Hope this gives you thoughts about the subject.