The photo above is of the then Captain C E Yeager with his crew chief Harry Webber to his left in front of Chuck's P-51D Glamorous Glen III.
Based at Leiston in Norfolk, England, Yeager flew a North American P51 Mustang for the 363rd Fighter Squadron, part of the 357th fighter group. Flying in combat against the might of Hitler's Germany,Yeager shot down one ME-109 and a HE-111K before being shot down on his eighth combat mission over German-occupied France on March 5, 1944.
He evaded capture when elements of the French Maquis helped him to reach the safety of the Spanish border. Yeager remained in Spain until the summer of 1944 when he was released to the British at Gibraltar and returned to England. When he returned to his squadron, they could not believe that this was the same Yeager that had been shot down. He was twenty pounds heavier and had looked like he had been on vacation with a serious suntan. He was the first evadee to make it back to his base.
Initially being told he could no longer fly missions over Europe (he could have been tortured by the Gestapo into giving away secrets of the French Maquis and then shot), he took his case to General Dwight D Eisenhower and pleaded to be allowed to continue his tour. Yeager said "I don't want to leave my buddies after only eight missions. It just isn't right. I have a lot of fighting left to do". Pretty soon after his return, the Maquis were openly fighting the German's on the ground. Yeager's squadron commander Ed Hiro gave him the news that General Eisenhower had decided in his favour that he could continue his fight.
He returned to his squadron and flew 56 more combat missions, shooting down 11 more German aircraft. Between July and October he was promoted from second lieutenant to captain.
On October 12th 1944, Yeager was leading the group on bomber escort duty over Bremen. He scored five victories (5 ME-109’s) on that mission, the first ever ace in a day. Stars and Stripes put Yeager on the front page, the headline went – FIVE KILLS VINDICATE IKE’S DECISION. His group CO subsequently recommended him for the Silver Star. Yeager was also the first to shoot down one of the German's Me-262 twin-jet fighter's, and this he accomplished in the veritable North American P-51D Mustang - surely the greatest fighter of the war?