PEACHTREE CITY, GA, June 3, 2022 – A restored P-51 Mustang brought a smile to the face of a 101-year-old U.S. Air Force hero in Rome, Ga., this week. Jim McCubbin flew P-51 fighters in Europe until near the end of WWII, and had not seen one again until the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia staff arranged a fly-in visit in his honor at the Richard B. Russell airport in Rome, GA.
McCubbin resides at the Renaissance Marquis Retirement Village in Rome, where his wartime accomplishments are well known. McCubbin is credited with destroying nine enemy aircraft before his plane was shot down in 1945 and he became a prisoner of war. Resident Services Director Catie Mason wanted to honor him in a special way, and made a request to the CAF for a visit.
CAF Airbase Georgia maintains and operates a P-51 in Peachtree City, Ga., home of the airbase’s Warbird Museum, and agreed to send the aircraft to Rome to honor McCubbin. The P-51, named “Red Nose,” is a highlight at airshows and aviation events around the country. It is kept in excellent condition by volunteer mechanics who also maintain six other restored WWII-era aircraft.
When Airbase Georgia pilot Craig Hutain taxied the P-51 to the apron of the airport terminal, a round of applause broke out from dozens of residents of the Renaissance Marquis in attendance, many of them also U.S. veterans who were recognized in the day’s ceremonies. McCubbin was escorted to the side of a P-51 one more time, and posed to “recreate” an old photo showing him standing next to his aircraft in the 1940s.
“This is why we do what we do,” said Airbase Georgia leader Joel Perkins. “Our mechanics, pilots and many other volunteers keep these planes flying so we can honor our veterans, educate the younger generation about the accomplishments of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ and inspire more youth to become involved in aviation.”
About the CAF Airbase Georgia Warbird Museum
CAF Airbase Georgia, based in Peachtree City, Ga., was founded in 1987. The Airbase is one of the largest units of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF). The group maintains and flies seven vintage military aircraft including a P-51 Mustang, an FG-1D Corsair, an SBD Dauntless, and a P-63A Kingcobra. The Airbase, which is composed of more than 400 volunteers, has hosted WWII Heritage Days since 2003. The organization is also a founding partner of the Georgia WWII Heritage Trail launched in 2021. The Airbase is part of the CAF, a non-profit, tax-exempt organization that relies on contributions of time and funds to carry out its mission. For more information, go to https://airbasegeorgia.org/.
About the CAF
The Commemorative Air Force is the world’s largest flying museum, with a fleet of more than 180 World War II-era airplanes assigned to unit locations across the United States. Nearly all of the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sights and sounds of vintage military aircraft in flight. Supported by 12,000 volunteer members, the CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education and remembrance.
Public Information Officer
CAF Airbase Georgia