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The Legacy of D-Day, and a P-51 Inspired Rifle

While many revere June 6, this 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord is a special one. We're losing our World War 2 veterans at an ever-increasing rate. 16,000,000 Americans served in World War 2, almost all of the ones still living are over 90 years old. 400,000 Americans were lost in World War 2, now we are increasingly losing them at home. In the near future, there will be a D-Day remembrance ceremony without anyone who fought in it. Soon, the “Greatest Generation” of Americans will be gone.

D-Day is central to the modern American mythos. For the last 80 years, Americans have been the driving force for change and security in the world. D-Day was not the first time Americans geared up to face genocide on some foreign shore and The Global War on Terror will not be the last. D-Day was the day the world knew the United States became the greatest force on earth in the defense of liberty. That June day in 1944 cemented our national legacy.

I was a part of several units whose legacy started in World War 2. My first duty station was the 101st Airborne Division. We have all seen the Band of Brothers, we all know about the “Screaming Eagles” during D-Day. During my time at Ft. Bragg, I regularly ran up and down Ardennes road. Passing the Parachute Infantry Regiments of the 82nd Airborne Division. I was doing a static line airborne jump on Saint Mere Eglise drop zone, named for the French area not far from Utah Beach. While in the aircraft, I thought about jumping from the C-47’s with the machine gun and anti-aircraft fire. A “from the frying pan into the fire” situation if there ever was one. Every Green Beret knows about what the Office of Strategic Services did with the French resistance. Living unnoticed in the midst of your enemy, while bleeding him dry was their mission in World War 2.

The weapons a nation makes for war often come to personify it. Take for example how the AK47 typifies Russian pragmatism. The German over-engineering fetish personified by the immensely powerful and complex Tiger tanks. The B-17 Bomber, M1 Garand rifle, and M4 Sherman tank are all iconic American symbols of World War 2. Yet, nothing typifies the American military effort like the P-51 Mustang.

Design-to-flying prototype in about 4 months. The Royal Air Force recommended using a Rolls-Royce engine in the Mustang. Engineers not far from where I grew up in Ohio, fitted Mustangs with a Packard engine designed by Rolls-Royce. The Mustang was transformed, it became the dominant fighter of World War 2. It quickly outclassed everything the Nazi’s could throw at it. It was 30-70 mph faster than the Focke-Wolfe FW-190 and Messerschmitt ME-109, could climb at the same rate, dive faster, and turn more sharply. Even Nazi Me 262 jets were frequent victims of the Mustang. Once the D model mustangs started rolling off the line at the end of 1943, the writing was on the wall. In the European Theater of Operation, Mustangs started replacing other US fighters. The Luftwaffe never recovered.

Another creation that personifies America is the M4/AR series of rifle. Nothing typifies the American warrior and patriot like this rifle. From Vietnam, Desert Storm, Afghanistan, Iraq, to current operations the American Warrior deploys with Eugene Stoner's creation. The design is so refined and effective; even HK’s most prolific combat rifles are effectively copies (Sorry Luftwaffe, you lose again). The M4/AR series of rifle is also the embodiment of what makes the United States special, our God-given constitutional rights.

To honor those who fought in the sky over, on, and around the invasion beaches, I painted this rifle like a P-51. This POF Revolution is painted in the colors of the 375th Fighter Squadron. The 375th was part of the 361st Fighter Group, under the Eighth Air Force in Europe. The 361st was initially under the command of Maj. Thomas J.J. Christian, Jr., great-grandson of the famous Civil War general “Stonewall” Jackson.

On June 6th, 1944 the 375th Squadron’s contribution to D-Day comprised six strafing and dive-bombing missions, during which at least 15 locomotives and an ammunition train were destroyed, plus 23 trucks and armored cars. Over the days surrounding June 6th, 32 enemy fighters were destroyed and many others damaged by the group. Many American soldiers on the ground had their load lightened by the actions of the 375th. When Mustangs flew overhead, Americans knew they had the advantage.

The POF Revolution itself is the product of an American Patriot, Frank DeSomma. Frank got his start in the aerospace industry and eventually switched over to firearms. Frank is a great source on the history of firearms in this nation. You will not find a more strident supporter of our right to keep and bear arms. Those who have fought for this country know we need stalwarts in the industry to provide us the best tools possible. Frank is the exact kind of guy the industry needs more of.

Frank DeSomma set out to meet and beat the Europeans in the battle rifle market. With the Revolution, much like the Rolls-Royce engine in a Mustang, there is more power in the same sized package. The Revolution is a 7.62×51 rifle that is the exact size of a 5.56×45 AR-15. I have attached a mil-spec AR 15 upper to the POF Revolution lower receiver, and yes, it fits.

The original Mustang got a bigger engine and it became a world-beater. The POF Revolution is light, accurate, maneuverable, and well made. It is fully ambidextrous, milled from billet, and has many quality features that are found on rifles that are far more expensive. The POF Revolution is a high-powered version of our national iconic rifle. It demands consideration by anyone in the market for a lightweight 7.62×51 rifle. I know Frank is proud to have his rifle, his legacy, be part of a tribute to those who took on the world and won.

The scope mount is a ZRODELTA scope mount. The cantilever mount is a one piece, two ring 20 MOA 30mm scope mount. It uses the DLOC mounting system for quick detach and static mounting. The user loosens the two large nuts on the ejection port side and then presses on them, clearing the mount for removal. It's slick and provides return-to-zero capabilities.

The scope is a US Optics TS-8X is a 1-8 First Focal Plane Scope. The TS-8X features a 30mm tube, 24mm objective and capped elevation and windage knobs. The reticle selection is a subject for another time. The TS-8X upholds the durability, reliability, and optical clarity standards that U.S. Optics is known for. Maintaining an inexpensive price point is the icing on the cake.

I selected this optic for the gun for two reasons. First, it says US in name of the company. Second, because of who owns US Optics. Pat Harrigan owns US Optics. Pat is the former commander of ODA 333, otherwise known as 3X. I served on 3X early in The Global War on Terror. 3X was well known for being an aggressive ODA that was always ready to mix it up. I know from the reports of his time in Afghanistan, Pat more than kept the legacy of 3X.

Many of us can trace our personal legacies back to World War 2. Be it in our military careers or those of our families. You might be able to trace your own story back to those famous military units that served with such distinction on that day. Some can trace back to those who designed and built the equipment needed to carry out Roosevelt’s “Mighty Endeavor.”

This gun is but a meager acknowledgment of all those who served this great nation on that most pivotal day. As the sun sets on the generation whose shoulders we all stand, let us not forget this very significant occasion. Because soon we will not be able to share it with those who were there.

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