“You do what you can for as long as you can, and when you finally can’t, you do the next best thing. You back up but you don’t give up.”
– Chuck Yeager
As legendary ace, Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, nears his 94th birthday this February, Hobby Master decided to pay him hommage with a replica of his P-51D Mustang, “Glamorous Glen III.”
Stationed in the United Kingdom at RAF Leiston, Yeager flew P-51 Mustangs in combat with the 363d Fighter Squadron. He named his aircraft Glamorous Glen after his girlfriend, Glennis Faye Dickhouse, who became his wife in February 1945. Yeager had gained one victory before he was shot down over France in his first aircraft (P-51B-5-NA s/n 43-6763) on March 5th, 1944, during his eighth mission. He escaped to Spain on March 30th with the help of the Maquis (French Resistance) and returned to England on May 15th, 1944. During his stay with the Maquis, Yeager assisted the guerrillas in duties that did not involve direct combat, although he did help to construct bombs for the group, a skill that he had learned from his father. He was awarded the Bronze Star for helping another airman, who had lost part of his leg during the escape attempt, to cross the Pyrenees.
Despite a regulation prohibiting “evaders” (escaped pilots) from flying over enemy territory again, the purpose of which was to prevent a second capture from compromising resistance groups, Yeager was reinstated to flying combat. He had joined another evader, bomber pilot Captain Fred Glover, in speaking directly to the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, on June 12th, 1944. With Glover pleading their case, they argued that because the Allies had invaded France and the Maquis were by then openly fighting the Nazis alongside Allied troops, if Yeager or Glover were shot down again, there was little about those who had previously helped them evade capture that could be revealed to the enemy.
Eisenhower, after gaining permission from the War Department to decide the requests, concurred with Yeager and Glover. Yeager later credited his postwar success in the Air Force to this decision, saying that his test pilot career followed naturally from his having been a decorated combat pilot, along with having been an aircraft mechanic before attending pilot school. In part, because of his maintenance background, he also frequently served as a maintenance officer in his flying units.