Hobby Master HA7722 USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter -Maj. Pierce McKennon, "Ridge Runner III", 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, Spring 1945 (1:48 Scale)
"Why should we have a navy at all? There are no enemies for it to fight except apparently the Army Air Force."
- General Carl Spaatz, Commander of the US 8th Army Air Force, after WWII
No other aircraft of WWII could fly as high, go as far, or fight as hard as the famed Mustang. Piloted by a record 281 Aces, this agile and ferocious dogfighter tallied more kills than any other Allied airplane. As the bombers of the Eighth Air Force fought their way deep into Hitler's Germany, it was the Mustang that cleared the skies of Luftwaffe fighters. The powerful Rolls-Royce Merlin engine gave the Mustang a speed of 445 mph. Re-styled with an aerodynamic bubble canopy for greater visibility, and outfitted with 6 fast-firing .50 caliber machine guns, the P-51 became the best fighter of the war.
Pictured here is a 1:48 scale replica of a USAAF North American P-51D Mustang Fighter that was piloted by Maj. Pierce McKennon, who was attached to the 335th Fighter Squadron, 4th Fighter Group, during Spring 1945.
Release Date: March 2014
Historical Account: "Music Man" - Pierce Winningham 'Mac' McKennon was a talented musician but is more widely remembered as a famous World War II flying ace. He destroyed twenty German aircraft and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with four clusters, the Air Medal with sixteen clusters, the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Unit Citation, and the Croix de Guerre.
Pierce McKennon was born in Clarksville (Johnson County) on November 30th, 1919, to Dr. Parma D. McKennon, a dentist, and Inez Winningham McKennon. He had two older brothers. The family moved to Fort Smith (Sebastian County) in 1921.
He graduated from St. Anne's Academy in Fort Smith and entered the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) on a music scholarship in 1937, but he left in 1938 after poor academic performance. He briefly returned to the university but never graduated.
In early 1941, McKennon entered the U.S. Army Air Corps aspiring to be a pilot but left for lack of aptitude. Undaunted, he went to Canada and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), excelling as an aviator and earning the rank of sergeant pilot in the RCAF by the end of 1941. McKennon became a member of an Eagle Squadron in Shropshire, England, and practiced throughout 1942 with a Royal Air Force (RAF) training unit. He transferred to the United States Army Air Force on November 24th, 1942, and entered with the rank of second lieutenant.
McKennon was assigned to the Sixth Fighter Wing of the Eighth Air Force but was soon attached to 335th Fighter Squadron of the Fourth Fighter Group at Debden Air Base outside London. McKennon shot down four enemy aircraft while flying his P-47 Thunderbolt and then switched to the P-51 Mustang, in which in 1944, he downed a fifth enemy plane and earned his designation as an ace. McKennon subsequently served as flight commander and destroyed several other enemy aircraft.
After a promotion to captain, McKennon became commander of the 335th Fighter Squadron. On August 28th, 1944, he was shot down behind enemy lines in France but was smuggled back to England with the aid of the French underground. After a promotion to major in 1945, he was shot down again, this time near Berlin, Germany. His wing man, Lieutenant George Green, picked him up in a field, and they both rode in Green's plane back to Debden. McKennon again became a target for German fire and was wounded but managed to return his plane to safety.