Aces of the ETO

John H. Stanley is an aviation illustrator and profile artist whose colorful, highly detailed renderings have appeared everywhere from collectors’ walls to aviation museum displays,  to the Official Race Poster for the Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show.  Here,  he is offering a a look at a selection of his warbird renderings. 

Above is Major Pierce “Mac” McKennon’s North American P-51D Mustang, “Ridge Runner III,” which the Arkansas native flew as a colorful ace with the 4th Fighter Group of the 8th Air Force.  Emblems of “Mac’s” units run across the base of the rendering, including those of the Eagle Squadron, with whom he volunteered before official American involvement in the war.

Above is a side view rendering of Col. John C. Landers’ famous 78th Fighter Group P-51D Mustang, “Big Beautiful Doll,” in what some people consider to be the ultimate Mustang paint job, but, despite the fanciness of his group’s standard, if wildly checkered paint job, it is my understanding that Landers  himself was mostly interested in keeping the leading edges of the wings polished smooth, to keep the plane aerodynamically clean.


Above is the plane of  Col. Francis “Gabby” Gabreski, the top Thunderbolt ace, who  just kept racking-up victories (28 total for World War Two), in this coloful P-47 with the 56th Fighter Group.

The print above depicts the famous P-51D “OLD CROW,” flown by ETO Ace Captain Leonard “Kit” Carson of the 357th Fighter Group.

The print above depicts the famous P-51D “Petie 2nd,” flown by Lt. Col. John C. Meyer,  of the “Blue Noses” of the 352nd Fighter Group.

You’ve got to love the name and the humorous nose art of the plane above, the P-51D “Short Fuse Sallee,”  flown by Major Richard Turner of  the 356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group of the 9th Air Force.   Sallee really must have been on a short fuse, and later on, Richard and Sallee were no longer an item, so the planes that Turner flew on later tours were just called “Short Fuse,” with no further mention of Sallee.  Oh, well.

Here is a famous, early-model P-51D, built without the dorsal fin fillet mounted forward of the tail surface on later D and K model Mustangs. The plane’s name, “Hurry Home Honey” derived from the way the pilot’s wife ended each of her letters from home to Captain Richard Peterson of the 364th Fighter Sqaudron of the 357th Fighter Group, known as “The Yoxford Boys,” due to their RAF Leiston base’s location near the village of Yoxford, in Suffolk, England.

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