View Full Version : WWII Ace Honored And Reunited With P-51 He Flew In 1945

12-26-2016, 07:57 PM
Probably been posted before but you just can't have too many of these kind of stories!

Heroic Ace Pilot Reunites With His P-51 After 65 Years

http://worldwarwings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/LiveBait-735x413.jpg Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Live Bait. Clayton Kelly Gross is a man with many stories to tell about his aerial battles during World War II. Gross has so many stories about his time flying a P-51 Mustang that he even wrote a book about them. Now after 65 years this heroic pilot is reunited with the plane that changed his life.
http://worldwarwings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0530-b.jpg (http://worldwarwings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/0530-b.jpg)Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

It is a truly heartwarming sight to see a veteran pilot back with his plane after such a long time. Clayton Gross managed to score 8.5 kills in his P-51 Mustang and was one of the first pilots to shoot down a Messerschmitt Me 262. His Mustang with the nickname Live Bait came from a mission where his wingmen told him to fly low and visible to draw out enemies while the rest of them remained high in the clouds.

“What do you think I am? Live bait?”
– Clayton Kelly Gross
http://worldwarwings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/images.jpg (http://worldwarwings.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/images.jpg)Wisconsin Journal Sentinel

Clayton and Live Bait saw a fair share of action during the war, enough for his book which is also named Live Bait. It’s great to see the joy on his face from the reunion and even better that he still has a sense of humor about his experiences.

“I told the pilot on the plane that flew me here, I said. I’m on board if you need help. I’ve never flown a jet but I shot one down it shouldn’t be too hard.”
– Clayton Kelly Gross
Clayton and his war tales with Live Bait are too good to be missed, check them out in this clip.


12-26-2016, 08:03 PM
Thanks for the post....we are losing the veterans of the greatest generation at such a high rate and we need to say a big thank you to all of the men and women that kept us free.....

12-26-2016, 08:09 PM
I am so glad he survived the war and got to write about it. That is priceless history.
Ole Jack

Don Purcell
12-26-2016, 08:26 PM
"Live bait" was restored two hours north of me at Midwest Aero Restorations. We were able to see her shortly after she was finished, what a beauty like all the restorations they have done. They are presently working on an original Bf109 G-6 that was pulled from a lake in Estonia and building it back to full original flying condition as parts and equipment become available. Bruce Winter who owns the P-51 "Happy Jacks Go Buggy" also owns the 109. Guess that's how the other half lives.

12-26-2016, 11:17 PM
Here's a salute from a one-time swabby to one of the men I've always regarded as my personal heroes. What MEN these were! None figured they'd survive, so they just tried to enjoy doing their job the very best they could. They were smart, and outthought the enemy, and saved the world from tyranny. What more could we expect of a real hero?

12-27-2016, 12:15 AM
Thanks for posting - I was out in the desert the other day and a B-17 flew over us. CAF has a branch in Mesa - some interesting things come out for a lazy fly by.

12-27-2016, 07:35 PM
Wow that is really cool, thanks for posting!

12-30-2016, 02:47 PM
A real Hero! A cool airplane and a cool story.

Smk SHoe
12-31-2016, 04:13 PM
Pictures do the plane no justice. Just getting up next to one is almost a religious experience. The men who flew them were a different breed.