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  P-51D-20-NA "Mrs. Beak" Serial Number 44-72561 Number 552
20th AF
506th FG
458th FS
Artwork by Shori Tanaka

USN August 3, 1945
Pilot  Captain Edward "Ed" H. Mikes, Jr. (survived) Berwyn, IL
Crashed  August 3, 1945 at 10:55am
MACR  none

Aircraft History
Built by North American Aviation (NAA) in Inglewood. Constructors Number 39150. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as P-51D-20-NA Mustang serial number 44-72561.

Wartime History
Assigned to the 20th Air Force (20th AF), 506th Fighter Group (506th FG), 458th Fighter Squadron (458th FS), attached to 7th Fighter Command (7th FC) "Sun Setters", 301st Fighter Wing (301st FW). Assigned to pilot 1st Lt. Edward "Ed" Mikes in "A" Flight. Nicknamed "Mrs. Beak" after his wife as a play on the fact he had a long nose. Fuselage code 552 painted in black. The rear fuselage and front half of the tail had black diagonal stripes. When lost, engine V-1650-7 serial number unknown. Armed with .50 caliber M2 machine guns serial numbers unknown.

Mission History
On August 3, 1945 took off from North Field (APO 86) on Iwo Jima piloted by Captain Edward "Ed" H. Mikes, Jr. leading "Green Flight" on a Very Long Range (VLR) against targets in the Tokyo area of Japan. The formation included 1st Lt. Vaughn E. Sowers, 1st Lt. Robert E. Tatro and 2nd Lt. Raymond Feld.

Over the target area, "Green Flight" targeted Chofu Airfield but saw no targets and instead followed double railroad tracks towards the coast before spotting two tanks west of Atsugi. Mikes and Sowers strafed them from the rear and as they passed, Mikes saw machine gun batteries firing on them and swung to fire on them but was hit by anti-aircraft fire that caused a thin stream of white smoke and proceeded towards the rally point and managed to reach the coast and flew southward over Sagami Bay when his oil pressure dropped near zero roughly 12 miles out to sea.

When his engine began vibrating violently, and released the canopy to bail out but the plane began to stall and spin that he managed to correct at 2,500' before he bailed out and hit the tail of his plane then deployed his parachute and landed unhurt in Sagami Bay at 10:55am.

Fates of the Pilot
Mikes landed safely and his flight circled to protect him. Spotted by B-17H "Bulgin Bessie" 43-39265 that released a Higgins A-1 lifeboat was successfully dropped to him. Meanwhile, USS Aspro (SS-309) on lifeguard was notified to rescue him.

Mikes was rescued by USS Aspro (SS-309) that came within five to six miles of the coast of Honshu into Sagami Bay to perform the rescue.

Donna Mikes Musil (daughter)
Susan Mikes Cronkhite (daughter)


NARA World War II Army Enlistment Records - Edward H. Mikes, Jr.

USAF Historical Study No. 85 USAF Credits For The Destruction of Enemy Aircraft, World War II Alphabetical (Mikes, Edward H. Jr. / 458 FS / CP / 1.00 10/06/45) page 133 (PDF page 140), Victory Credits, Alphabetical by Theater of Ops: (Mikes, Edward H. Jr. / 458 FS / CP / 1.00 10/06/45 page 214 (PDF page 220), Victory Credits, Chronological: (Mikes, Edward H. Jr. / 458 FS / CP / 1.00 10/06/45) page 515 (PDF page 520), Victory Credits, Listing by Unit: 458th FS (Mikes, Edward H. Jr. / 458 FS / CP / 1.00 10/06/45) page 660 (PDF page 664)
"The 458th Fighter Squadron: A Personal Scrapbook for the officers and enlisted men of the squadron"
("A" Flight: "Capt. Edward H. Mikes, Asst. F/CO / A/C No. 552 / 'Mrs. Beak' "
(Air Echelon: 1st Lt. Edward H. Mikes, Jr."
USAF Serial Number Search Results - P-51D-20-NA Mustang 44-72561
"72561 (462nd FS, 506th FG) in takeoff accident at North Field, Iwo Jima Jun 4, 1945. Pilot survived, aircraft badly damaged, unknown if repaired." [sic, this is in error]
August 1945 USAAF Overseas Accident Reports  does not list this loss
Pacific Air Combats WWII Voices From The Past (1993) by Henry Sakaida The Rescue of Ed Mikes pages 81-89, 81 (Mikes photo), 82 (Mrs. Beak depiction), 89 (1991 Mikes/Morioka reunion photo), 93 (map)
The Pineapple Air Force (1990) pages 190, 191, 212 (index Mikes)
Very Long Range P-51 Mustang Units of the Pacific War (2006) page 11 (photo), 47 (profile 25), 115, 123 (aerial claims), 126, 128 (index Mikes)
Fold3 - Edward H Mikes Jr
The Rescue of Ed Mikes (2020) by Henry Sakaida and Donna Mikes Musil
Thanks to Henry Sakaida and Donna Mikes Musil for additional information

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Last Updated
August 12, 2020


Tech Info

August 3, 1945

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