(Photos: Southern Arizona Guide)
This is Bad Angel, an American P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Pima, Arizona.
Like many World War II aircraft, it has kill markings on the side. Do you notice anything unusual about them?
Yes, that's an American flag. Lt. Louis Curdes was credited with shooting down an American aircraft while flying Bad Angel. Jim Gressinger, who visited the Pima Air and Space Museum, tells the whole story at Southern Arizona Guide.
Curdes was flying over Batan, the Philippines, in 1945 when he spotted an American Douglas C-47 transport aircraft approaching a Japanese-held airfield, apparently planning to land there. The pilot, Curdes, reasoned, must not have known that it was in enemy possession.
So Curdes tried to warn him off, first through radio, then through visual signals. But the C-47 stayed on course. Curdes had no choice but to shoot out one of the aircraft's engines. Nonetheless, the pilot kept going straight toward the Japanese airfield. Finally, Curdes shot out the C-47's other engine, forcing it to ditch into the ocean.
The pilot and all 12 passengers were rescued. Among them was, to Curdes's shock, a nurse whom he had taken on a date the night before. Curdes, who had fought the Germans, Italians, and Japanese, was shocked:
He later told a reporter, "Jeepers, seven 109s and one Macchi [the Italian fighter plane] in North Africa, one Jap, and one Yank in the Pacific. And to top it, I have to go out and shoot down my girlfriend!"
Curdes was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for shooting down the C-47. Read more about his adventures at Southern Arizona Guide.
-via Ace of Spades HQ