Robert “Punchy” Powell was one of the first fighter pilots I interviewed; I ended up traveling with him internationally as well as to various events in the U.S.   However, he had an outstanding ad-hoc “air museum” in his house that contained a piece of the P-51B Mustang that he flew in WWII.

Christened, “The West “by Gawd” Virginian,”  (Punchy was from Wilcoe, WV), the airplane nearly killed him when it faltered shortly after take0ff and he had to belly-land in a field.  Fully laden with fuel, the airplane quickly burned, sparing the tail, nose and extremities of the wings.   Punchy’s crew chief “Bob” Lyons wrenched this panel from the carcass and gave it to Punchy as a memento.