The P-51D Mustang underwent a complete restoration from 2007 to 2012. The restoration was managed by Jeff Harris at Allied Fighters in Chino, California with Mike Breshears of Vintage Airframes in Caldwell, ID doing a majority of the work.
Also providing support during the restoration was Fighter Rebuilders (Chino, CA) and Westpac Restorations (Colorado Springs, CO). Roush Aviation in Michigan overhauled the Packard Merlin engine.
After several decades on the ground, N5420V’s first flight after restoration was mid-May 2012. Robert Dickson Sr. and his son RT bought the plane in June of 2012 and had it painted as the last mount of then, Lt. Will Foard – “Swamp Fox” C5-A, 364th Fighter Squadron, 357th Fighter Group, 8th Air Force, based out of Leiston, England.
The Dickson’s consider themselves trustees of this important piece of history and want to preserve it by honoring all those past present and future that have served the U.S. Armed Forces.
On December 2, 2012, Lt. Col. Will Foard, USAF (ret), surrounded by family and friends, had the opportunity to see this Mustang restored as his during WWII. After lunch, Lt. Col Foard strapped into the rear seat of Swamp Fox and rode with Robert as they flew in formation with two other 357th FG P-51s (Gentleman Jim & Ain’t Misbehavin’).
Lt. Col Will Foard, USAF (ret), then a young USAAF Lt., grew up in the Carolina’s. Since he was flying and fighting out of England, Will thought it would be funny to name his plane after the famous American Revolutionary hero from South Carolina, Col Francis Marion. Marion was hated by the British and gave him the moniker “Swamp Fox”.
The U.S. Army Air Force and U.S. Air Force History of
P-51 Mustangs 44-15660 & 44-74202
P-51D-25NA, s/n 44-15660 (the original “Swamp Fox”)
According to U.S.A.F. records, the P-51D, s/n 44-15660, was manufactured by North American Aviation, Inglewood CA and delivered to the USAAF on 20 Oct 1944. It departed the US by sea on 31 Oct 1944 and was assigned to the Eighth Air Force, England, on 10 Nov 1944. It was disposed as surplus overseas on 16 Jul 1946.
P-51D-25NA, s/n 44-74202 (now painted as s/n 44-15660)
Manufactured by North American Aviation, Inglewood CA and delivered to the USAAF on 7 May 1945.
May 1945 - To 445th Fighter Squadron (Fourth Air Force), Bakersfield AAF CA
Jul 1945 - To Santa Maria AAF CA
Oct 1945 - To 412th Fighter Group (Continental Air Force), Santa Maria AAF
Dec 1945 - To 420th AAF Base Unit (CAF), March AAF CA
Feb 1946 - To 4160th AAF Base Unit (Air Materiel Command), Hobbs AAF NM (storage)
Jun 1947 - To San Antonio Air Materiel Center, Kelly AFB TX (storage)
Jul 1948 - To 27th Fighter Group (Strategic Air Command), Kearney AFB NE (to F-51D, deployment to Bergstrom AFB TX)
Mar 1949 - To 120th Fighter Squadron (Air National Guard), Buckley Field CO
Nov 1950 - To 140th Fighter Wing (ANG), Buckley Field
Apr 1951 - To 140th Fighter-Bomber Wing (Tactical Air Command), Buckley Field
May 1952 - To Clovis AFB NM
Jan 1953 - To 50th Fighter-Bomber Wing (TAC), Clovis AFB
Jul 1953 - To 165th Fighter-Bomber Squadron (ANG), Standiford AP KY
Oct 1956 - To Sacramento Air Materiel Area, McClellan AFB CA