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Tom Cleaver
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Two famous P-51Bs – Tamiya 1/48 kit

January 25, 2013 · in Aviation · · 2 · 2.4K

Don Gentile's "Shangri-La" and James O. Howard's "Ding Hao." Both pretty much OOB other than p-e seatbelts and Aeromaster decals. Both done some 12 years ago.

Don Gentile was perhaps one of the most controversial aces of the war. 30 years ago, former members of the 4th FG either loved him or hated him - there was no middle ground, and such a position still defined friendships. I take him as an example of the immigrant experience in America: he was a 1st generation American, son if immigrants, raised in the days of Sacco and Vanzetti, racial prejudice against Italians and other non-Western European immigrants during the days of the KKK running America's social wars. Everyone who remembered him remembered one could take their life in their hands making a "Wop" joke in his hearing. Whatever else, he was an outstanding pilot.

James O. Howard was the only fighter pilot in the ETO to win the Medal of Honor for his single-handed defense of a bomber unit over Oschersleben on January 11, 1944, A former Navy pilot (he's flying F3F-2 6-F-18 in "Dive Bomber") who joined the American Volunteer Group where he became an ace, then did it again as squadron leader and deputy group commander in the 354th "Pioneer " group in the spring of 1944.

Reader reactions:
2  Awesome

20 additional images. Click to enlarge.

2 responses

  1. Tom... DING HOA brings back a lot of memories of my first Mustang build. Nice job, thanks for sharing.

  2. Always good to see 2nd favorite aircraft of WWII.

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