August 5, 2020, Palm Springs, CA: The Palm Springs Air Museum is the new home for the P-51 Mustang, Man O’ War, currently owned by the Ward Family. “We are overjoyed to see this aircraft join our flying collection,” said Palm Springs Air Museum Vice Chairman of the Board Fred Bell.
Built in Inglewood California on February 15, 1945, the P-51 was shipped to England in March of 1945 for combat during World War II. It did not see combat and was returned to the New Jersey National Guard. Later it was shipped to the US Air Force for use during the Korean War, but again, did not see combat.
A few years later Hollywood came calling and the plane was used by Universal Studios for the Rock Hudson picture, “Battle Hymn” in 1957. A private party then bought the airplane and in 1971 “Poontang” became the nose art.
In 1975 Elmer Ward purchased the airplane and gave it the paint scheme of Colonel Claiborne Kinnard Jr’s WWII mustang Man O’ War. Ward owned a mechanical engineering company and did all his own maintenance on the aircraft. Housed in Chino, California, Elmer flew Man O’ War until his death in 2007. Man O’ War is still owned by the Ward family, currently by Elmer's son Todd Ward & Elmer’s grandchildren Casey Ward & Stacey Baker.
The Palm Springs Air Museum hopes that Man O’ War will soon join the Warbird Rides Program!