Short Straw, Korean War Book Review


Short Straw
Memoirs of Korea
by Captain Bernard W. Peterson

Memoirs of Korea Page 22

Short Straw is a tremendous book written by Captain Bernard W. Peterson about the Korean War and the The North American P-51 Mustang

The P51 mustang is probably the most famous of all of the Warbirds.  This airplane was manufactured by North American Aviation during WW2.  The plane took only 90 days to design and became the worlds fastest propeller airplane, ever, setting all of the low altitude speed records for propeller driven airplanes even today.  There are many of these airplanes still flying today at air shows everywhere.  This plane is also a favorite at the Reno Air Races at Stead Field just north of Reno Nevada.  Many Warbirds race at Reno every September.  The P51 is 32' 3" long, 13' 8" high, and a wingspan of 37'.  The mustang weighs 7000 lbs empty and has a max weight of 12100 lbs.  It used two different types of engines, the Allison and the Rolls Royce Merlin which produced 1650 lbs.  The racing planes, by contrast, pump out over 4500 hp.  The P-51 mustang had a max speed of 437 mph and a cruise speed of 275 mph.  The P-82 was a twin fuselage version of the P-51, with two engines. 
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 With the loss of 2520 P-51's in combat in Europe, the USAAF claimed destruction of
 4950 enemy aircraft in the air and 4131 on the ground - a better ratio than any other U.S. fighter.

A picture of a  P-51 Mustang loading fragmentation bombs.
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Picture Scanned by C. Jeff Dyrek

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A P-51 Mustang receives a load of fragmentation bombs for its next mission.  The North American P-51D Mustang had already earned an enviable reputation in Europe, starting in December 1943 with the U.S. Eighth Air Force.  Britain had named it the mustang when they first received their early versions in Nov. 41 and the name stuck.  From an early prototype built to British specifications in only 120 days, it evolved into the best fighter in Europe, escorting bomber formations.  Its top speed reached 441 mph at 30,000 ft.  With the loss of 2520 P-51's in combat in Europe, the USAAF claimed destruction of 4950 enemy aircraft in the air and 4131 on the ground - a better ratio than any other U.S. fighter.  The 1200 hp V-1710-81 Merlin in-line engine could be distinguished from the noisier radial engines of the Corsairs we flew.  The ROK air force had a squadron of F-51's at our base at Kangnung (K18) while I was there.
Excerpt from "Short Straw," by Captain Bernard Peterson.
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Interesting Books that you can buy 
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Veterans,  Read This

Why is it important to look at airplanes?  Airplanes, especially planes like the F-101 Voodoo show the rapid growth of technology in the world and in the United States that provided us with the great freedom that we enjoy today.  With this freedom comes responsibility.  The responsibility to learn all we can not only about airplanes or history, but about technology.  Technology is the most important product of the United States has today.  To keep our country on top of the worlds technology requires us to have the most trained workforce anywhere.  Aviation is important because aviation and aerospace both exhibit the limits of our technology. If our students learn about aviation they will be able to understand any field of work.  We must ensure that aviation, airplanes, aircraft and aerospace are words on all of our children's lips.
Airplanes create dreams.  Dreams of leaving the restriction of a two dimensional world.  Dreams of having freedom to travel anywhere, in any direction at any time and any distance. Aircraft give us the big advantage to do all of these things in only a short while.  When we dream of airplanes, we lift our heads to the sky.  We feel the pride of having limitless capabilities.  We don't pick up airplanes, airplanes lift us up and our minds are launched into new horizons.  We need airplanes and we need to keep airplanes in all of our minds.  Aviation gives our people an upward mobility that no other branch of technology can ever do.  As long as we feed our dreams, we have someplace to go.
C. Jeff Dyrek

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