As the Legends and Aces of WWII are approaching the far side of their lives, it is imperative that those of us left behind know of their greatness.
They were individuals of great character and conviction that took life personally as they fought for their country but put their life on the line for each other,
they were also men and women of great talent who were the first "horse whisperers", bringing out the best in the Mustang even before the designers knew the
plane could do it. Just like the plane they flew, they were a breed unto themselves.
Today many of these aviation legends are disguised behind the name of grandpa or even gramma, their accomplishments in the air hidden behind a life well
lived. Their family and friends not knowing that all that they have and know today is dependent on what they did over six decades ago.
There were 1279 Aces in WWII of which 274
had scored 5 victories or more in the P-51 Mustang.
Today there are approximately 80 surviving Mustang
Aces. As rare as the Mustang has become, the men
and women who made history in their cockpits are becoming even
rarer. But unlike the plane, they will not be restored to grace
the sky again. These pilots, both those still with us and those
who have gone on are who the Gathering is for.
The Legends that we honored at this event and the thousands
of other veterans who served in fighter groups, and ground
crews all over the world will be remembered for their contributions
to all that we enjoy today.