Hobbymaster 1/72nd scale HA4516 McDonnell Douglas F-15C “Maloney’s Pony” 82-0023, 27th TFS, 1st TFW, 1991. Buy online at Flying Tigers.
In 1967 the U.S. became aware of the Soviet MiG-25 Foxbat. This made it necessary to develop a new aircraft to counter the MiG-25. The USAF rejected the USN F-14 Tomcat and issued its own requirements. The solution came in the form of the McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing) F-15 Eagle. The F-15A made its inaugural flight in July 1972 and in January 1976 the first Eagle entered service. The “E” entered service in 1989. The F-15 was the first dedicated USAF air superiority fighter since the F-86 Sabre.
On August 19, 1944 Lieutenant Thomas E. Maloney’s P-38 328746 #23 lost power to both engines and forced him the made a water landing. He managed to get his life raft and made it ashore where he triggered a landmine severally maiming him. For 10 days he crawled through woods before returning to his raft and was eventually rescued and miraculously survived. While the 27th flew the P-38 #23 would be named Maloney’s Pony. This tradition ended when they retired the P-38 but was resurrected with the acquisition of the F-15.