Playin' With the Boys
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Signed on plate by Robert Winks
357th Fighter Group Ace
Signed on plate by Merle Olmsted MSGT, USAF (RET)
Historian, 357th Fighter Group

Merle Olmsted served as a ground crewman with the 357th fighter group and is currently the official historian for the 357th. He is the author of several fine books including his latest, "To War with the Yoxford Boys". www.eagle-editions.com/357.htm

The Man: Maj. Richard “Bud” Peterson of the 357th Fighter Group
The story of this scene is best told by Samuel Harry Glasser, radio operator-gunner aboard a B-17G called the "Outhouse Mouse." His formation was about to be jumped by a pack of Luftwaffe fighters but the B17s were being escorted by P-51 Mustangs. The pilot of "Hurry Home Honey" radioed his 'big friend' and said, "I'll be right back, fellas. I'm gonna go play with these boys." Looks like he played for keeps because he came back. The pilot of that plane was Richard "Bud" Peterson. *
Richard Peterson is shown here just as he opens fire on his second opponent, the Luftwaffe flight leader's wingman. His first opponent can be seen free falling away from his stricken ME 109 as he wisely waits to lose speed before opening his parachute.
Richard Peterson was a well loved fighter pilot of the 357 th fighter group and went on to score 15.5 aerial victories and become one of the greatest Mustang aces of the war.

The Machine: P51D Mustang
This famous Mustang “Hurry Home Honey” is said to be named after the letters Richard Peterson received from his wife during the campaign. The letters must have worked because he made it home.
  The P51 Mustang is well known as one of the most outstanding fighters ever produced during WWII. Rushed into production with advanced aerodynamic features such as laminar flow wings the “D” model was powered by the legendary 12 cylinder liquid cooled Rolls Royce Merlin (built under license by Packard) and achieved a speed of 437 miles per hour in level flight, a climb rate of 3,475 ft/min. and a service ceiling of 42,000 feet. It was armed with 6 “.50 cal” machine guns.
It's most important feature was its exceptional range allowing the Allies for the first time to escort Allied bombers on their entire perilous mission deep into central Europe . This escort greatly reduced bomber and aircrew losses. It is said that when air marshal Goering saw Allied bombers being escorted by Mustangs over Germany he knew the war was over.

* Provided by Jeff Glasser

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