In 1940, at the request of the British, the P-51A ("Mustang") fighter plane was designed by North American Aviation. The design
showed promise and purchases of Allison-powered Mustangs began in
1941, primarily for photo reconnaissance and ground support use due to it's limited
high-altitude performance. But in 1942, tests of P-51B's using the British
Rolls-Royce "Merlin" engine revealed a much improved speed and service ceiling.
In late 1943, Merlin-powered P-51B's entered into air combat over Europe.
Providing high-altitude escort to B-17's and B-24's, the Mustang's scored heavily over
German interceptors. By the end of the war, P-51's had destroyed 4,950 enemy
aircraft in the air, more than any other fighter in Europe.
Mustangs served in nearly every combat zone, including the Pacific. Over 14,800 P-51's were
built by North American Aviation. During the Korean Conflict, P-51D's were used
primarily for close support of ground forces until withdrawn from combat in
From: The Tuskegee Airmen Website
"Due to a rigid pattern of racial segregation that prevailed in the United States during World
War II, approximately 992 aviators were trained at the Tuskegee Institute and also at an isolated
training complex near Tuskegee Alabama. From the first graduating class on 7 March 1942, through the last class which graduated 29 June
1946, a total of 926 pilots earned their wings. Of these graduates, approximately 450 pilots went
overseas to fly P-39, P-40, P-47 and P-51 fighter aircraft in combat. White American bomber crews reverently referred to them as "The Black
Redtail Angels" because of the identifying red paint on the aircraft tail assemblies and because of
their reputation for not losing bombers to enemy fighters as they provided fighter escort on bombing
missions over targets in Europe. During World War II, 66 Tuskegee pilots
were killed in action and another 32 became prisoners of war. During the war the Tuskegee Airmen faced the contradiction between fighting for democracy
overseas and being denied civil rights at home. These pilots made their advances during one of the
most difficult times for Blacks in our nation's history. Their hard work, common sense and devotion
to America and to the idea that it stands for freedom for all continues today. In 1972, the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., was founded in Detroit, Michigan. Organized as a non-military
and non-profit entity, the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., exists primarily to motivate young Americans to
become participants in our nation's society and its democratic process. "
Source and Links: U.S.A.F. Museum.
The Tuskegee Airmen Website
Fully assembled, Handcrafted Model Airplane with Removable
(Scale: 1/24, Length: 18 3/8", Wing Span: 16 1/4")