"The Mormon Mustang"

Trenton Hill

Roy, United States

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Color pencil and pencil on 100lb. Smooth Bristol acid free paper; original is 14×17 and is sprayed with a clear lacquer to help blend and preserve color.

Re-do of “Mormon Mustang”. Make sure you see the video!

Brigadier General Roland R. Wright grew up on a farm in Blackfoot, Idaho. He remembers at a young age looking to the sky at the birds and having a strong desire to fly. When he was 14 years old, barnstormers came to town offering anyone a flight for 10 dollars. Young Roland scraped his money together and was able to take his first flight. From then on, he had a burning desire to become a fighter pilot.
Before pursuing his dream as a fighter pilot he decided he should first serve God as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints in the Northern States Mission. Toward the end of his mission, Roland Wright heard of the bombing at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and recognized the need for enlisted men. He still had his dream of becoming a pilot; upon returning home he enlisted.
Because of this strong desire to continue missionary work, he decided to place the words “Mormon Mustang” on the fuselage of each of his P-51 Mustang planes. The plane represents, like qualities of a good missionary, strength, stamina and endurance.
One of many things that Mormons are associated with other than missionary work is the pioneering migration of a religious people during the mid 1800’s. Mormons were kicked out from one town to another back east; and so it was decided they would move West in search for their own space and land they could call there own. Brigham Young, President of the church at that time raised himself from his sick bed from the back of the wagon and looking out across the desolate Utah Valley declared “This is the place”. Today Salt Lake City and the Greater Utah area is a thriving metropolis with lush green mountains, clear blue lakes, rivers and streams. A far cry from what the earlier pioneers seen or what could ever be imagined.
Like the Mormon Pioneers, The Mustang evolved into one of the all time great fighters of WWII. North American pioneered the laminar wing to reduce drag and increase strength. They also listened to pilots to understand what they needed to help give them the edge in a dogfight with the enemy. Later models such as the D-model would include a bubble top canopy which would give the pilot superior vision all around his aircraft.
Adored by many pilots and commanders the P-51 was even used in Korea as a ground attack aircraft, a role it was not really good at, given the location of it’s cooling system on the bottom of the fuselage. It was the only airplane that inspired the thought; “If one P-51 is good, two P-51’s would be great!” And so was born the P-82 or F-82, which was used with great success as night fighters during the Korean War.
To this day, modified P-51’s continue to break speed records for propeller driven aircraft, the F-16 jet fighter can trace some of it’s design and concept for a dogfighter back to the P-51 Mustang, a true pioneering aircraft.


Artwork Comments

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