P-47 THUN­DER­BOLT/P-51 MUS­TANG JERSEY

JERK MAJ. GEN. DON­ALD STRAIGHT, 356TH FG, 361ST FS

Flight Journal - - BRUSHSTROKES -

“When our group first ar­rived at Martle­sham Heath, Suf­folk, every­one wanted to put a name on their airplane. I thought I would call mine Jersey Bounce. I came from New Jersey, and at that time, it was also the ti­tle of a pop­u­lar song, so I thought it would look nice on my airplane. Trou­ble was, so did some other pi­lot in the group who beat me to it. For the first five mis­sions, my plane re­mained un­named. When I came back from that last mis­sion, my crew chief, Staff Sgt. “Doc” Wat­son was sign­ing off the main­te­nance forms and said to me, ‘Sir, we have a name for your airplane. We want to call it the Jersey Jerk.’ I was ab­so­lutely floored, in­sulted to say the least, es­pe­cially the crack about my home state! ‘Hell, I’m not a jerk,’ I thought to my­self. Wat­son, see­ing me turn three shades of red and sens­ing my dis­plea­sure, said, ‘Well, let me tell you some­thing, sir. Any­body that would get in a sin­gle-en­gine airplane, fly it across the North Sea in win­ter, then take a chance get­ting his ass shot off by flak or mix­ing it up with the Luft­waffe and be­ing on the re­ceiv­ing end of an FW 190 has gotta be a jerk!’ Wat­son was 100 per­cent right! I flew my newly chris­tened Jug and later my P-51 Mus­tang with great pride and con­fi­dence, know­ing full well I had the best damn ground crew in the ETO.”

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