Our plane, 44-84753, carries the paint scheme of another P-51 Mustang fighter that flew in the European theater in WWII.
The original “Buzzin’ Cuzzin,” serial number 44-72481, was stationed at Duxford Airfield from April 1943 to October 1945, as part of the 83rd Fighter Squadron, 78th Fighter Group. This Buzzin’ Cuzzin was flown and named by Lt. William B. Spengler of Chicago Illinois, shown in the photo below. Spengler’s cousin, Bill Dvorak, had arrived in England a few months earlier to fly P-51′s in the 4th Fighter Group. Dvorak’s plane was named Zoomin’ Zombie, which inspired Spengler to name his own plane Buzzin’ Cuzzin!
“What’s buzzin’, cousin?” was a popular saying in the 1940′s meaning “what’s up?” or “what’s new?” It was also the name of a 1943 musical film starring Ann Miller, and the name of a Cab Calloway song.
The 78th Fighter Group moved to England in November 1942 and was assigned to Eighth Air Force. The group lost its P-38′s and most of its pilots in February 1943 when they were assigned to Twelfth Air Force for service in the North African campaign. The group was reassigned to Duxford airfield in April 1943 and reequipped with P-47s. Aircraft of the group were identified by a black/white checkerboard pattern.
The group consisted of the following squadrons:
• 82d Fighter Squadron (MX – red rudder)
• 83d Fighter Squadron (HL – white rudder) [included the original Buzzin' Cuzzin]
• 84th Fighter Squadron (WZ – black rudder)
From Duxford, the 78th flew many missions to escort B-17/B-24 bombers that attacked industries, submarine yards and docks, V-weapon sites, and other targets on the Continent. The unit also engaged in counter-air activities and on numerous occasions strafed and dive-bombed airfields, trains, vehicles, barges, tugs, canal locks, barracks, and troops. In addition to other operations, the 78th participated in the intensive campaign against the German Air Force and aircraft industry during Big Week, 20-25 Feb 1944 and helped to prepare the way for the invasion of France. The group supported the landings in Normandy in June 1944 and contributed to the breakthrough at St Lo in July.
The group converted to P-51s in December 1944 and participated in the Battle of the Bulge, Dec 1944-Jan 1945 and supported the airborne assault across the Rhine in March.
The 78th Fighter Group received a Distinguished Unit Citation for activities connected with the airborne attack on Holland in September 1944 when the group covered troop carrier and bombardment operations and carried out strafing and dive-bombing missions. The group received a second DUC for destroying numerous aircraft on five airfields near Prague and Pilsen on 16 April 1945.
The 78th Fighter Group returned to Camp Kilmer New Jersey and October 1945 and was deactivated in place on 18 October.
Patch from the 83rd Fighter Squadron (78th Fighter Group)