Iwo Jima VLR Mustangs

Part 2 - 506th FG

by Mark L. Rossmann



The “Sun Setters”, were the VLR Mustang pilots of the 15th, 21st and 506th Fighter groups, VII Fighter Command based on Iwo Jima  

The 506th FG was delivered by ship to Guam on March 17th 1945 , a week later the unit flew to Tinian . 7 weeks of CAP and practice missions were flown while North Field on Iwo was prepared for there arrival. Finally on May 11, the FG landed at North but first combat missions didn’t occur until May 18th when the weather cleared. Black Friday, June 1, took its toll on the 506th losing its formation leader Lt. Col. Scandrett, Capt's. Edmund Crenshaw and Lawrence Smith, 2nd Lt’s James Best, Robert Kripple, Robert Griffeth, Leonard Kloiber, William Saks, Thomas Kerrigan and Robert Harvey, 1st Lt’s Gale Loomis and Archie Ridley along with the rest of the VII fighter command as 24 pilots lost there lives and not one to enemy fire, all to mother nature.

457th FS P-51’s were assigned numbers 500 to 549 and was commanded in the following order by Maj. Malcolm C. Watters and Maj. Daun G. Anthony.

“HEL-ETER(left side) / LIL – TODDIE(right side)” #527 were flown by 1st Lt's. John W. Winnen and Phillip G. Alston, as in most cases there were more pilots than planes.  This was the late paint scheme with the solid green tail, early paint job had green striped tail as in aircraft #550. #527 was lost in August while Alston was on leave in Hawaii .

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458th FS P-51’s were assigned numbers 550 to 599 and was commanded by Maj. Harrison Shipman.

“Madam Wham-Dam” #550, was piloted by Maj. Shipman.  However on the fateful “Black Friday” Lt. Col Scandrett deputy commander of the 506th was flying the plane and did not return. The blue striped tail was the initial markings of this unit until later in June when they became solid blue, as in aircraft #527.

462nd FS P-51’s were assigned numbers 600 to 649 and was commanded by Maj. Thomas D. DeJarnette.

“Dina B” #615 was piloted by Lt. Willie Willis which shows several mission markings. However I have no have no other information on this pilot or plane. These were the initial markings of this unit until later in June when they became solid yellow.

These are among the last USAAF Mustang units to be activated for combat. If you would like to know more about the VII Fighter command, the Banzai attack and the storm of June 1, you will enjoy reading the following:

References: Osprey Aviation Elite Units – Very Long Range Mustang Units of the Pacific War – Author: Carl Molesworth.

Decals: AreoMaster 48-794 through 797.

Kits: 1/48th Hasegawa, ICM and Tamiya

Web Site: 506thfightergroup.org

Watch for Part 3, 21st FG later in 2009. 

** Help looking for 1/48 scale markings for a 21st FG/72nd FS **

Mark L. Rossmann

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Photos and text © by Mark L. Rossmann