A Mustang's Tale


In December 2006, the wreck of a Mustang P-51 B was discovered underwater near the town of Ajaccio, Corsica, by the archaeological diving team of ARASM.
Many hours of research were required to learn the origin and identification of the plane. In our investigations we learned that the pilot not only survived the crash, but is alive and well today in his hometown of Blasdell, N.Y.

A plane of legend

According to many, the Mustang was one of the best prop fighters in World War II. Produced in large quantities, this long-range fighter played a key role in escorting Allied bombers over the skies of Germany and all of occupied Europe. Hermann Goering declared at his trial in Nuremberg: “When I saw the Mustangs in the sky over Berlin, I knew it was the end”.
Our plane never reached Berlin, but it had travelled long journeys. Produced at the Inglewood Plant (near LA, California), with the serial number 42-106585, she was ferried in North Africa, then joined Italy. She was assigned to the 309th Fighter Squadron, the ‘Wild Ducks’, whose pilots proudly wore the first ‘Walt Disney authorized’ patch. In that squadron, our plane was assigned the letter ‘I’, thus becoming ‘WZ-I’.

A unit of legend
Our WZ-I belonged to one of the most famous US units in the war. Indeed, the 31st FG was the first unit to reach England and to get a victory against the Luftwaffe. They would later move on to become the first American fighter Group to reach Algeria, Tunisia, Malta, and Italy. They were also the first group to be fitted with the P-51 in the MTO (Mediterranean Theatre of Operations) in April of 1944. They would finish the war with the largest number of victories in the MTO with a total of 571 and with 33 of its pilots becoming ‘Aces’. As a bloody counterpart, the group lost 107 of his members. The 31st FG motto was "Return with Honor".
31st FG Website

Read an account of the crash here >

Association ARASM
Posted by Association ARASM, on 03/01/2007 at 12:38