Segment 5


Anderson thought the P-39 was a cool airplane. With the engine mounted in the center of the plane there was room to put a cannon. They also had machine guns in the wings.It wasn't until Anderson flew the P-51 that he realized the short falls of the P-39. He is glad that he never had to fly combat in one.The men in Anderson's group were all young. He was 20 when he was commissioned and flew almost all of his combat missions at the age of 22. By the age of 27 guys were usually group commanders. They were the old men.Obie, William R. O'Brien, was one of the original flight leaders. The flight leaders were Anderson, O'brien, a guy named Hubbard from California, a guy named Devries, and Ed Hero. Hero became the the group's Operations Officer.The first group of pilots that joined the group included a flight officer named Chuck Yeager.Anderson believes that if a war is necessary, the way to do it is to have air groups that have trained as a unit.To be a true fighter pilot a man had to have good vision, not just good eyesight. As a kid Anderson was a hunter and was able to spot enemy planes out at a distance. Yeager was also able to do that.During one mission Anderson could see a group of B-17s [Annotator's Note: American B-17 bombers] way off in the distance. He could see very small sparkles around the bombers. When he got a little closer he realized that he was seeing German fighters attacking the formation.The P-51 was great to fly. It was really fast at all altitudes and had great range and endurance. It was the right plane at the right time for the job.


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