The pilot of the P-51 was Lee A. Archer, who retired from the USAF as a Lt. Colonel after 29 years of service. He had a remarkable career as a Tuskegee Airman, distinguishing himself by being the only ace. On October 12, 1944, Archer scored three kills in one engagement. In all, he flew 169 missions and received numerous medals including the Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with 18 Oak Leaf Clusters.