P-51C Mustang “Gruesome Twosome”

P-51C Mustang “Gruesome Twosome” Art by Willie Jones. This image is copyrighted and is the property of Willie Jones Jr. and is available only to members of the Armed Forces and Military organizations. Gruesome Twosome was often used to describe the 332ND Fighter Group’s most successful lead pilot - wingmen combination, 1Lt Lee A. Archer, “INA the Macon Belle”, and Capt Wendell O. Pruitt, “ALICE - JO”. 1Lt Archer and Capt Pruitt each accounted for 11 air and ground enemy kills with five and three air victories respectively. 1Lt Archer is the only documented “Ace” of the Tuskegee Airmen. He was originally listed with five kills although official Air Force records indicate four air-to-air kills. His victory credits were re-accessed and one claim was disallowed and listed as a probable. This process removed him from the list of American Aces. Many aerial victory lists credit him with 4, 4.5, or 5 victories. 1Lt Archer and Capt Pruitt were flamboyant and headstrong men who worked well together. Both being from big cities, were considered “Hip Cats”. 1Lt Archer was from New York City and Capt Pruitt was from St Louis. They liked the term and had a Zoot Suit clad “Hip Cat” painted on their “Red Tailed” P-51C Mustangs. 1Lt Lee A. Archer continued his military career and retired as a Lt Colonel but Capt Pruitt was not as fortunate. Capt Wendell O. Pruitt was killed in a flying accident at Tuskegee Army Air Field after returning from a combat tour in Italy. He was training a new cadet when the accident occurred. It was speculated that the young cadet froze during a maneuver and the aircraft went down before Capt Pruitt could regain control.

VIRIN: 090715-F-JZ030-388.JPG
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