Some D's that were replaced with new a/c remained operational.
Preddy's 44-13321 was re-assigned to another pilot.
Same with Meyer's 44-15041.
Yes, that is correct. It happened regularly but how widespread it was, I cannot say. I do know Richard Peterson's original P-51D-5 was assigned to another pilot after he got a new one. I have a couple theories as to why this happened; neither one based on any large amount of substantiation so please take it with a grain of salt.
The first one, however unlikely, is that a pilot's aircraft that was in need of extended maintenance (such as changing a wing or fuselage) was taken to the backshops to have the work done. In the interim, the pilot was issued a replacement aircraft. When the first aircraft was finished it was listed as active and then reassigned to another pilot. Again, this is just a guess and is based on more of a "hunch" than any factual information so please do not tout this as fact as the facts have not been established to corroborate this theory.
The second theory as to why pilots were assigned to older aircraft may be a little more tangible. Naturally a fighter pilot always wants the latest and greatest and those that were fighting the airwar deserved nothing less. The higher ranking pilots (and sometimes the more adept) would be the first ones to get new equipment as it filtered into the theatre (that much is a fact). When they got a new aircaft, their old one would be reassigned to a lower time pilot (i.e. replacement pilot) or one that was using older equipment than the replacement they'd be getting (that's the theory).
That's the best of my thinking on the subject. The jury is still out and there may be entirely different reasons as to why aircraft were reallocated within a squadron or group and one or both of my scenario's may be totally off-base.
Edited by TimC, 11 September 2012 - 11:13 PM.