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P-47D flown by Captain, Carl F. “Cully” Ekstrom, 355th FG, 358th FS.

February 24, 2015 in Aviation

Captain Ekstrom 358th Fighter Squadron, 355th Fighter Group, on his fifty first combat mission, was killed in action 30th December 1943 flying P-47D serial no. 42-8526. He entered the Service from North Dakota. He was married to his wife Myrtle and had a daughter, Victoria. He was Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, and the Air Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters. He is interred in Normandy American Cemetery, St. Laurent-sur-Mer, France.

Captain Ekstrom graduated from the University of North Dakota in 1941. He made an outstanding record as a boxer while attending the University. He was a member of the Nordak boxing team and won the national intercollegiate featherweight boxing title in 1935 and also the Golden Gloves championship. The insignia on the cowl of his airplane represents a Golden Gloves medal.

In 1983 Carl “Cully” Ekstrom was inducted into the University of North Dakota sports hall of fame for his boxing prowess.

I built this model for Captain Ekstrom’s daughter, Victoria (Vicki). Vicki and her husband have been our friends for many years and at one point in time, Vicki told me about her father. She showed me a photograph of him standing on the wing of his airplane and I told her I would make a model of the airplane for her. I built a Monogram P-47 with the markings of the 355thFG, 358thFS. At the time she had no further information on his airplane and I had no computer to use to source it, so I made the model with the letters YF*E. E, for Ekstrom. He was a Captain at the time and the operations officer so I figured E would be appropriate for his last name.

Many years passed and Vicki told me that through many moves, the model had disappeared. Not to worry, I told her I would build another one for her. This time I was given considerable more information on her father and his airplane. Vicki and her daughters had put together scrapbooks of items that her mother had saved throughout the years regarding her father. With the new information that I had, I learned the correct third letter for his airplane. He used “M” for his wife’s name, Myrtle. Plus I had the correct serial number. This model is the Hasagawa 1/48 kit.

In this article I have also enclosed old photos:

The original Monogram model of this P-47.

“Cully” Ekstrom, the boxer.

Captain (then Lieutenant) Ekstrom, his wife Myrtle, and Vicki. On the reverse of this photo is a hand written comment “Dear Myrtle, this was posted at the head of Cully’s bed – he never for a second forgot”, This comment was written and signed, Billy Hovde.
(Major William J. Hovde (11 ½ victories, one in Korea) and Cully Ekstrom were very close friends.)

“Cully” Ekstrom, standing on the wing of his airplane.

Vicki, by her father’s gravesite at Normandy.

I gave the model to Vicki to replace the one that had been lost. The model will again occupy its rightful place.

I am truly honored to be allowed to pay homage to one of our nations fallen hero’s

5 additional images. Click to enlarge

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18 responses to P-47D flown by Captain, Carl F. “Cully” Ekstrom, 355th FG, 358th FS.

  1. A moving story and fitting tribute to a great man. Great build. Well done Frank!!!!

  2. As Morne said above , a fine and fitting tribute to a great man.
    Looks great Frank.
    Well done sir

  3. I concur, Frank….nice build and background story.

  4. thank you frank, stories like this keep the hobby alive. great work!

  5. Great back story and a clean build. The personal element of the story adds a depth not usually seen in these presentations.

  6. Great story and a fine tribute to the family Frank.

  7. both are superb…the E and the M…great story and photo’s of plane and family…lovely presentation

  8. Great story and a great tribute to the family. Your P-47s are looking great too
    Good work 🙂

  9. Excellent Frank, thanks for sharing.

  10. Hey Frank
    Very nicely done all around-Great tribute and model!

  11. A very moving story and a fine tribute to a real hero, I’m sure this model will take pride of place in the family home.

  12. Great build and paying tribute through the art of modelling, like you perfectly did, makes our hobby so much more meaningful.

  13. Nice story and a nice model.

  14. A very nice model to me and an interesting story too- thank you Frank

  15. A fine model. I too have been to Cully’s grave. to that of Charles Wambier (killed in the same action as Cully) and to the memorial at Steeple Morden airfield where the Americans who flew from that field and died for our freedom are commemorated. Brave men all.

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