"LeRoy’s Last Kill"
North American P-51D Mustang

For many, the North American P-51 Mustang is the most beloved fighter aircraft of World War II. Yet, had its airframe not been paired with the Rolls Royce Merlin engine, the Mustang would not have become such an enduring classic.

In October of 1942, British engineers refitted five Mustangs with Rolls Royce Merlin engines. Finally, the Merlin-powered Mustangs, starting with the P-51B variant, had the power to demonstrate the extraordinary range, speed, and maneuverability its designers had anticipated.

This painting illustrates the P-51D Mustang piloted by Capt. LeRoy Grossheusch, CO of the 39th FS/35th FG, based at Okinawa, scoring his last kill of the war. On August 12, 1945 Capt. Grossheusch tangled with a Nakajima Ki-84 ‘Frank’ fighter. Its destruction took his final score to eight. The war ended two days later.