In the darkest days of WWII, the Luftwaffe roamed at will,
Across the skies of Fortress Europe, to terrorize and kill.
And far below them thousands died, as tools of war were hurled.
By those who swore allegiance to a thug who'd rule the world.
Death was not selective, the innocent and the helpless died,
The young who'd never lived, and moms with toddlers at their sides.
In the air, on the ground, aboard the ships at sea.
Those who served the tyrant sought oppression of the free.
But factories where their guns and tanks, their planes and ships were made,
Would feel the awesome, righteous wrath of Allied bombing raids.
But as the bombers struggled through, without escorts at their sides,
Some raids would be successful, but some were suicide.
With targets well beyond the range of Thunderbolts and"38's",
The lumbering bombers were easy prey, as the Luftwaffe lay in wait.
But that all changed when the Mustangs came, a drop tank on each wing.
The fuel and range to carry out the vengeance they would bring.
As American sons in "51's" prowled cold and hostile skies ,
The tables turned, the Luftwaffe learned their role was "compromised".
With Mustangs flying overhead, mile after bloody mile,
Roles reversed, no longer first, the Luftwaffe was "on trial"
Bomber crews in crippled ships were no longer left alone.
As the "Guardian Angel Fifty Ones" throttled back and "nursed them home".
And as they faced the Luftwaffe guns and sheltered bomber crews,
With valor worthy of their cause, the Mustangs paid their dues.
American sons in P-51's, the gallant and the brave,
Earned respect --, and gratitude ---, of the bomber crews they saved!
Mission boards" would often read --, "both the plane and pilot lost".
The haunting question ever present "will I return this day"?
"Or will my resting place tonight be a lonely field of clay"?
If I must die to save to save a bomber and her crew of ten,
Then I WILL die to save my "brothers" so they can "fight again".
"One life for ten" will WIN this war, will my loved ones understand,
That I died so they could live in a free and peaceful land?
Day after day the Mustangs faced the Luftwaffe and the flak,
Like the bombers some returned but some were NEVER "coming back".
Some returned without a scratch, some would crash and burn.
Others simply disappeared, their fate their loved ones never learned.
On combat missions in a realm that few can understand,
With no comrades their to comfort them or to hold their dying hand.
At thirty thousand feet and many miles from home,
It was the fighter pilot's fate to fight and die alone.
Half a world away from Europe the forces of the Rising Sun,
Would come to know the "taste of justice" delivered by the Mustangs guns.
B-29's en-route to bomb the war lords of Japan,
Could do their job and make it home with the Mustangs close at hand.
Then mushroom clouds above Japan
and WWII was done.
Ignited by the "Lords of War", "extinguished" by our gallant sons.
Then 1950 Korean skies were war torn and aflame
And like before the "Knights of War", the gallant Mustangs came.
Each time the free world was at risk in wars around the world,
Mustangs and their pilots fought to keep our flag unfurled.
And in the hearts of grateful nations there is a surge of pride,
As they recall the gallant ways the Fighter Pilots fought and died!
Ivan L. Fail (c) 1986: Revised 2001