Past is Prologue
Faced with a two-front war in Europe and the Pacific, World War II posed new tactical challenges for the United States requiring the nation to mobilize its resources quickly and strategically. For the first time ever, aviation power played a critical role in securing a victory. The struggle to control air space led to technological advances in aircraft design and performance that, even by today's standards, remain impressive.
While the technical advances made during the war effort have continued to fuel our ever-forward motion in developing better and faster planes, the stories of the men who flew them have been all but forgotten. With these humble heroes reticent to talk about the role they played in achieving an Allied victory, very few personal histories have endured from that time to now. No aviation history is complete without the human element – the men whose performance perfectly complemented the machines' design. And nowhere was the partnership more powerful than with the North American P-51 Mustang and the men who flew her into harm's way.
Almost eight decades and four generations since it rolled off the assembly lines in Los Angeles and Dallas, the Mustang has exceeded the hopes and expectations of the men who created it. A technological hero in its time, the Mustang has achieved iconic status, remaining the fighter by which all other fighters built since World War II are measured. Its birth, death, and re-birth are a striking testament to the men who built and piloted her.
While there were nearly 16,000 Mustangs built, only 200 remain worldwide. Nearly 100 of these airplanes gathered in September 2017 at an unprecedented event, "The Gathering of Mustangs and Legends," held at Rickenbacker Field in Columbus, Ohio. The event was designed to pay tribute to the heroes and planes from a forgotten time and is the backdrop against which our film is set.