"BATTLE FOR THE ISLANDS"

BY NICOLAS TRUDGIAN

Autographed by Col. Robert M. Baker, Col. Robert Bruce Porter and Col. James E. Swett.

L/E of 600. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Size: 36" x 22 1/2"

Price: $175.00

— SOLD OUT —


 

By the time VMF 121 received their F4U Corsairs, they had already established a reputation as one of the Marine Corps most feared fighter units. Since their formation in 1941, equipped with F4F Wildcats, they had played a major role as part of the "Cactus Air Force" in the defense of Henderson Field, the vital airfield on the island of Gualalcanal.

With the arrival of the new F4U in April, 1943, the pilots of VMF 121 fought their way agressively up through the Solomon Islands. The sky above New Georgia, Bougainville and Rendova soon became familiar aerial battlegrounds. VMF 121 fought to the end of the war, amassing 209 enemy aircraft destroyed, with 15 of its pilots achieving "ace" status.

In his spectacular painting, Trudgian portrays the Corsairs of VMF 121 providing close air support to the U.S. landings on Rendova on June 30, 1943. Fiercely contested, the invasion force was heavily attacked by Zero fighters and Mitsubishi G4M1 "Betty" bombers flying from their base ar Rabaul.

Dogfighting at treetop level, VMF-121 Corsairs rip into a bunch of Bettys as they try to make their escape following their attack on shipping. On fire, the Betty in the foreground is doomed and will shortly become one of the 19 Japanese aircraft accounted for by VMF 121. Other Marine fighter units brught the total this day to a staggering 58 enemy aircraft destroyed.

In his imcomparable way, Nicolas Trudgian has combined the exciting drama of aerial warfare with the stunning beauty of the Pacific Islands, to produce a truly exquisite rendition. All prints in the edition are personally signed by three highly distinguished World War II Marine Corps fighter aces.


SIGNATORIES


Three leading F4U Corsair marine Corps Aces join artist Nicolas Trudgian in signing this new limited edition print.

Colonel Robert M. Baker, USMC
Bob Baker joined the Marine Corps in 1941 and first saw combat in the Pacific Theater in February, 1942. By the summer of 1943, he was flying F4Us with VMF 121 over the Solomons. On June 30 he downed three Zeros in one fight. Two days later, he and three of his flight were attacked by a large force of over 40 Zeros. Baker shot down two in the action to become an Ace. For these actions he was awarded the DFC. He fought at Rendova, also Guadalcanal and Munda.

Colonel Robert Bruce Porter
After a tour in the Pacific. Bruce joined VMF 121 in 1943 at Guadalcanal and soon downed 4 Zeros. He served tours with VMF (N) 511 and later VMF (N) 533. He helpedd lead that squadron on one of the longest over-water flights of W.W. II for single-engined aircraft - flying from the Marshall-Gilbert islands to Saipan-Iwo-Jima. On June 15, 1945, he scored a double night victory at Okinawa, making him an Ace. He was probably the only Marine pilot to gain two or more kills in both the Corsair and Hellcat. He became only one of six Marines to score a double or triple kill in one mission.

Colonel James Swett
Jim Swett became one of the top-scoring F4U aces, with 15 1/2 victories in 94 missions in the Corsair. He had already earned the Congressional Medal of Honor flying the F4F Wildcat before switching to the F4U. Leading a four-plane section with VMF-221 on April 7, 1942, he shot down no fewer than 7 Japanese Val dive-bumbers in an engagement over Tulagi Harbor, before taking a hit himself and ditching in the sea. In all, Jim Swett 211 combat missions, 94 in Corsairs; made 120 carrier launches and recoveries and in addition to his Medal of Honor, was awarded 6 DFCs and two Purple Hearts.