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Spirit in the Sky

Trent Latshaw '75 with the "Millie G," a World War II P-51 Mustang.
Interior controls in the "Millie G."

With his personal ringtone set to Norman Greenbaum’s 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky,” it comes as no surprise that Trent Latshaw ’75 loves flying. Forty-five years and 6,500 flight hours after his first takeoff at age 18, he can’t quite put into words what makes the experience so incredible or why he keeps going back to the sky, despite four crashes that would have convinced most men to keep their feet on the ground.

It might be the pull of seeing the world from this rare vantage point: the pilot’s seat of a P-51 Mustang, the best World War II fighter plane in its class. This beauty carries the paint scheme of the original “Millie G” flown by Maj. Gen. Edward Giller, a U.S. Air Force pilot who named the plane after his wife Mildred. Its only modern updates are a communications radio (unfortunately, it can’t get the oldies at sky-high altitudes) and a GPS.

While it didn’t see combat, Latshaw jokes that its engine or landing gear may have, since this P-51 is constructed from parts of other WWII fighter planes. It’s one of six planes he owns, but he doesn’t play favorites: whichever he’s flying is the one he likes best.

A petroleum engineering graduate who owns Oklahoma-based Latshaw Drilling and Exploration Co., he enjoys flying his “Millie G” to airshows and sharing it with veterans at commemorative events. As a supporter of Texas A&M’s petroleum engineering department and Memorial Student Center, he also finds ways to share the plane with Aggieland, such as Kyle Field flyovers or with groups at Easterwood Airport (pictured here).

While aloft, Latshaw might ponder his business strategy, his good fortune to own and fly a piece of national history, or often, his plan in case of a malfunction (he wears a parachute as a precaution). Every now and again, to break the monotony of endless clouds and blue sky, he takes the “Millie G” for a few aileron and barrel rolls.

Trent Latshaw '75 and the "Millie G"

When it comes to vintage warbirds, one stands above the rest: the P-51 Mustang. Check out this exclusive up-close-and-personal tour of the "Millie G," brought to you by Trent Latshaw '75.