What do you get when you cross Old Crow with Bud? No, I’m not talking about the trade name for a particular bourbon Whiskey and I certainly don’t mean to conjure thoughts of a very popular brand of beer. I’m talking about the plane, “Old Crow” and the pilot, Clarence, “Bud” Anderson. Put them together and you get one of the most winning combinations of man and machine to take to the skies during World War 2.
Flying his P-51 Mustang, “Old Crow”, as part of the 357th Fighter Group of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Bud was part of a team that challenged the Luftwaffe’s supremacy and ultimately dominated the skies over Europe. He earned the title Triple Ace, a title that recognizing that Bud shot down no fewer than 15 Axis aircraft while piloting not only a good fighter aircraft, but the one the History Channel, in its program on the top ten fighters of all time, called the best of the best. Its speed and maneuverability are legendary and its extended range made it a long distance escort for bombers like the B-17 Flying Fortress whose missions deep into Nazi airspace would not have been possible without the P-51 and the men like Bud Anderson who so skillfully flew them. Commenting on the Mustang’s contribution Bud noted:
“The airplane arrived in Europe at the precisely important time when the heavy bombers were taking such losses that they knew they had to have escort fighters that could go wherever the bombers could go. The arrival of the Mustang…meant we could go deep into Germany …The spring of 1944 is when historians agree we broke the back of the Luftwaffe…We overwhelmed them with 1,000 bomber raids with 1,000 – 1200 fighters, all at once, day after day.”
So, if you combine Bud, the WW2 Triple Ace with Old Crow, his trusty P-51 Mustang, you get a winning combination that helped win the war over Europe!
You can learn more about Bud Anderson the P-51 Mustang and the Mighty Eighth Air Force by visiting Bud’s web site and the web site of the Mighty Eighth at www.mightyeighth.org/history.
I hope you will support me (and hundreds of World War 2 enthusiasts and volunteers around the world) in challenging American teens across America, who are interested in military history, to participate in the iHistory Project-WW2. We are committed to preserving these great World War 2 stories and memories and to bringing them to life so future generations will understand and appreciate the events of this conflict and how they shaped our world.
For more information, visit the I-History Project-WW2 or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.