USAAF Nose Art Research Project


P-51A-1-NA 43-6077

311st Fighter Group

Jackie Jackie was purchased by donations from Universal Engineering, Frankenmuth, Michigan
Jackie was purchased by donations from Universal Engineering, Frankenmuth, Michigan

This P-51A was purchased by donations amounting to $50,000 (not War Bonds) from employees of Universal Engineering Company at Frankenmuth, Michigan and dedicated in May 1943.The programme was begun in October 1942 by the German-American community that felt the need to prove their loyalty to a nation, they felt, was hostile to them at that time. It began with a $10,000 donation from the company itself and a further $8000 from the Board and management. By November, 400+ employees had pledged $1,00 per week to the drive, raising $41,000 more.The company newspaper announced that, to their knowledge, this was the first time a company and its employees had made outright donations to buy a piece of military equipment.

By April, $50,000 had been pledged and cheque was sent to the USAAC in Washington DC. On Sunday 2nd May 1943, employees and their families gathered at Harry Brown airport to christen their P51 Mustang fighter. The fighter was dedicated to Rusty Meffert, a plant superintendent, who died shortly before the ceremony. After flying over the assembled crowd and performing a few aerial manouevres, the Mustang departed to be assigned to the CBI theatre of operations with 350th Squadron of 311st Fighter Group.

The original dedication titling applied to both sides of the P51 was, according to regulations, painted out before going overseas. Once with the 350FS (known as The Yellow Scorpions), it was assigned to the squadron leader Capt (later Major) James England who christened it a second time with the name of Jackie in honour of his wife and had that painted on both sides of the nose in a white script. On the port side, Capt England's name was painted below the cockpit along with a yellow prop spinner (the squadron identifier). Crew chief for the plane was Eugene (Sam) Crawford, assisted by SSgt Francis Goering.

While serving in Burma, the plane accrued a total of eight Japanese planes shot down with Maj England in control. It is believed to have completed more than 100 combat sorties, 600 flying hours, received two new wing tips, two new gas tanks, stress plate, an engine change, several replacement canopies and numerous other parts. In one engagement it took hits by more than 50 bullets and was finally declared unserviceable and stripped for parts.


© Ray Bowden 13 August 2022