27 June, 2015

Profile 105: IN PROGRESS—SDANG F-51

Behold!  The F-51 of the SDANG!

"The what?!" you say?

On the outside chance that you're not a total history nerd, an "F-51" is the same as "P-51" except that the "F" reflects the refreshed aircraft naming convention adopted after the formation of the Air Force as a separate branch of the military in 1947.

If you're ever on a game show and the million-dollar question is somehow tied to knowing when to call a Mustang "F-51" or "P-51," look for the horizontal red stripe in the 'Star'n Bar' insignia.  Better yet, have a look below.  It's the F-51 as flown by Hank Snow of the 67th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Korea, circa 1952.   The red stripes in the insignia should be pretty clear (in spite of the fact that my Mustang-drawin' skills have improved substantially since I drew Hank's F-51 a few years ago!).

Hank Snow's F-51, "Lil' Warrior."  The name was his crew chief's idea.

Anyway, I am bringing this point up to emphasize that the Mustang was still a bona-fide war plane even into the jet-powered 1950s.   In fact, if you click the link below, it'll take you to a little bit of Hank's Korean War guncam footage.  I don't know if it was filmed while flying "Little Warrior," but I do know that he was flying an F-51 at the time.

As for the word, "SDANG," that stands for South Dakota Air National Guard. The bureaucratic structure was formed by WWII ace and legend Joe Foss in 1946, with delivery of aircraft taking place the next year.

If you live in South Dakota—which I figure you don't as the state only contains about 800,000 people—you know there are four things that make the residents swell with pride:

1. Mt. Rushmore.
2. Enduring the weather.
3. Pheasants and Walleyes.
4. "Our Guard."

Of course, South Dakota operates an Army National Guard in addition to the winged variety.  But, the powers-that-be have decided to make the '51 a symbol for...well...I can't say right yet.  However,  when I post my finished rendering*, it'll also come with a story that might inspire you to do something similar in your hometown.

*So far, though this Mustang warrants an "F" it's definitely my best Mustang to-date.   I can't wait to display it along with the cool back-story.