August 9, 2014 — This beautiful summer morning The Florida Confederate Memorial Wall, Inc., a Frostproof-based nonprofit organization, unveiled the 10 panels that comprise the display during a public ceremony. Almost on cue, a TF-51 Mustang from the stables of Stallion 51 overflew the display area at the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ “Flags Across Florida” site in Tampa. Glancing skyward at the swift, inadvertent and unscheduled “salute,” one could not but recall the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force). The low pass was ironic and fitting because the pilot above was at the reigns of his mighty steed, a Mustang, which was the first aircraft type obtained by the Confederate Air Force in 1957, while local members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry were arriving on their motorcycles.
Some 125 individuals from as far away as Miami attended the festivities. The General Jubal A. Early Camp #556, Sons of Confederate Veterans, hosted the event and ladies of the Mary and Mollie Bell Chapter #20 of the Order of the Confederate Rose provided enthusiastic support.
Frostproof resident Robert E. Stemple, one of the project co-founders, explained that the structure is a tribute to all of Florida’s Confederate soldiers, sailors, marines, physicians and chaplains who served honorably during the War Between the States.” The names on the wall,” he emphasized, “are of those men who perished due to combat, illness, disease and accidents.” There are well in excess of 4,000 entries.
Stallion 51 Corporation maintains and operates 2 TF-51 Mustangs. Their monikers are Crazy Horse and Crazy Horse 2. Notably, the venerable aeroplanes are still providing useful service to America’s military in a teaching capacity. They do so through periodic Stallion 51 TF-51 visits to the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent River, Md.
At Patuxent River student test pilots from all branches of the military learn about and develop piloting skills relating to characteristics of high-powered powerplants driving large propellers. Through Mustang flights the aviators experience phenomena such as torque, P-factor, the corkscrew effect and gyroscopics. Thus, the experience of operating a TF-51 broadens the aviators’ knowledge relating to these idiosyncrasies.
The Florida Confederate Memorial Wall (TFCMW) was more than 3 years in the making. It will be transported around the state. Mr. Stemple reported that the next venue is tentatively to be at Rifles, Rails & History. This Civil War living history encampment takes place September 26-28, 2014. Information about The Florida Confederate Memorial Wall may be found at www.tfcmw.org.