When I was a lad of thirteen or so, I was obsessed with flying and building model airplanes, and held fantasies of being a pilot someday. Around about that time, my parents were having an addition put on our home, and the construction company sent a man out to work up the specs. He was Gordon McDaniel, known by everyone as “Mac”. It was widely known that Mac had been an Ace pilot in the P-51 Mustang during World War II, but Mac himself never mentioned it, until one night at our house, in the course of the evening, he talked about the war from beginning to end. And never spoke of it again.
He showed no interest in flying full scale aircraft, but he did indeed love building and flying model airplanes. He became my mentor and flying buddy. And of course, my hero. In the few short years I knew him, we flew models almost every evening that the weather allowed, till I went off to college and another life. Many years later, Mac passed away, and although it had been a long time since I had built or flown a model, I began again to be immersed in the hobby, and built my first model P-51, the “MaryMac”, number 40. Now we have a house full of models, thirty or so, two of which are P-51s.
I learned from Frank and Sue Lawless (Mac’s daughter) that a documentary was being produced about the 325th Fighter Group, by a fellow in England named Neil Pugh. After I saw the first trailer for Part 1, I knew I had to be involved if at all possible. Luckily, Neil was agreeable. He graciously endured my editing efforts on the narrative, and has given me the honor and the pleasure of being its voice.