The Freedom Flyers in Burnet are celebrating youth and veterans. Cowden Ward, Jr. shared little-known facts about the famous P-51 Mustang.
In addition to the Freedom Flyers' activities with youth they have a goal this year of giving 100 WWII veterans a ride in their pristine P-51 Mustang, "Pecos Bill."
This P-51 never saw combat since it was built near the end of the war. Some great photos of it are on the Freedom Flyers Facebook page. The photo at left is Pecos Bill on the apron at the Kate Craddock field in Burnet.
Cowden shared a little known fact that the P-51 was borne out of an order, originally for a P-40, from the British Air Force. The first version was under-powered to the Brits' mind so it was then fitted with the famous Merlin engine from Rolls-Royce and the rest was history.
Cowden has an animated way Cowden Ward, Jr.of telling stories! In this photo he is telling about a 91 year old WWII vet flying the P-51 during one of the many rides that Freedom Flyers has given to some of the Greatest Generation. 
Another activity the Flyers have is to give medical assistance transportation such as getting cancer patients from far West Texas towns to MD Anderson in Houston. They have given many of those rides -- free of cost -- to cancer patients.
Working with youth is the primary mission of Freedom Flyers and over 70 % of the time and resources go to creating and delivering 
innovative STEM based youth programs.  The goal is to awaken interest in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Aviation is the perfect venue for this type of learning. It is fun, exciting, and holds young people’s attention.
Thanks for a great program, Cowden, and thanks to Rotarian Jim McCrocklin for bringing it.