The Gunfighter is a "D" model, serial number 44-73264, which was the most
produced P-51 model during the War with over 8,000 built. Today, about 140
Mustangs exist, world-wide, in Museums, flying or under restoration.
No country in the world any longer flies the Mustang as part of their
inventory. The Dominican Republic was the last country to do so and sold
those aircraft on the civilian market in 1985.
44-73264 was built in the North American plant in Inglewood, California as a
P-51D-25-NA, and accepted into the USAAF in March, 1945. That same month, it
was trans-shipped to England, where it was assigned to the famous 'Mighty
Eighth' Air Force. In July of the same year, after the War had ended in
Europe, it was returned to the U.S. and assigned to Olmstead Field in
Pennsylvania, where it remained until 1947. For the next nine years the
aircraft served with Air National Guard units in four States; Wyoming, New
Mexico, Illinois and finally the Kentucky ANG, where in 1956, it was declared
surplus and sold on the civilian market.
44-73264 is restored in the colors of the 343rd Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter
Group, 66th Fighter Wing, 8th Air Force, USAAF, using the nose art "Gunfighter",
providing the name by which the aircraft is widely known. The 55th Fighter Group
was the first American Air Force unit to become operational in the Lockheed P-38
Lightning prior to transitioning into the P-51. On March 3, 1944, the 55th Fighter
Group was the first USAAF combat unit to fly over Berlin and was one of the units
to provide top cover over the Invasion Beaches at Normandy on "D-Day", June 6th,
All armor plate and armament have been removed from Gunfighter and the average
gross weight is approximately 7,500 lbs. The current maximum fuel capacity is
184 gallons. The engine is a twelve cylinder in a 'V' configuration, rated at
1,490 HP and has a displacement of 1650 cubic inches. It is equipped with a
supercharger which allows for a service ceiling of 41,000 feet.
Gunfighter was maintained and flown in support of the Mission of the
Confederate/Commemorative Air Force for 30 years from 1977 through 2007, by
Reg Urschler, who was sole Sponsor and pilot during that period. Reg served
32 years on active service with the United States Air Force, logging in
excess of 13,000 flying hours. He retired as a Brigadier General and now
resides in Bellevue, Nebraska. Reg flew Gunfighter in excess of 3,300 hours
on some 1,950 flights.
The tradition begun by Reg will continue.
Under the direction and assistance from General Urschler, Gunfighter is now
assigned to Colonel Larry "Lumpy" Lumpkin of Omaha, Nebraska. Colonel Doug
Rozendaal of Clear Lake, Iowa, Colonel Dave Peeler of Memphis, TN and Colonel
Jeff Linebaugh of Collierville, TN have recently joined Larry as co-sponsors
to continue the tradition of flying missions in support of the CAF.
The hourly estimated cost to "Keep it Flyin' " approaches $2,500 per hour,
which includes the cost of engine overhaul, parts, maintenance, insurance,
hangar, fuel, oil, paint and all the other items necessary to safely operate
- *March, 1945 - Accepted By the USAAF
- *July, 1945 - Returned to the US
- *September, 1945 - 4108th Base Unit, Newark, N.J.
- *December, 1946 - 4412 Base Unit, Olmstead Field, PA.
- *March, 1947 - 187th Fighter Squadron, Wyoming ANG, Cheyenne, WY
- *January, 1952 - 50th Fighter-Bomber Wing, TAC, Clovis AFB, NM
- *April, 1953 - 187th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Wyoming ANG, Cheyenne, WY
- *September, 1953 - 108th Fighter-Bomber Squadron, Illinois ANG, O'Hare Field
- *February, 1955 - 165th Fighter-Bomber/Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, Kentucky ANG, Sandiford Field.
- *October, 1956 - Sacramento AMA with assignment code RS, recommended for reclamation
- *September, 1957 - Authorized for reclamation and dropped from USAF inventory
- *1977, Donated to the CAF
- *1977-2007, Assigned to and sponsored by Col Reg Urschler. Co-sponsored 2003-2007 by Col Larry Lumpkin
- *2007 - , Assigned to and sponsored by Col Larry Lumpkin. Co-sponsored 2008 � by Col Doug Rozendaal and Col Dave Peeler.