"FIRST BLOOD"

BY ROY GRINNELL

Signed by Tex Hill.

Size:24" x 30"

Price: $150


American Fighter Aces
Series 1

Four shark-nosed P-40 Tomahawks of the 2nd Pursuit Squadron, AVG, took off from Rangoon's Minigaladon Aerodrome in the crisp pre-dawn of 3 January, 1942. One turned back for engine trouble, leaving three to continue to their target, Raheng Aerodrome, a Japanese-held airfield outside of Tak, in northwestern Thailand.

Squadron Leader Jack Newkirk led the formation, with David L. "Tex" Hill flying Jim Howard's wing. As they approached the Japanese airfield from the southeast, they observed several 1-96 and 1-97 fighters on the ground warming up for takeoff, with more circling the field at 2,000 feet. With the sun at their backs, Newkirk peeled off in a 250-mph dive as Howard and Hill followed in string. As "Tex" Hill descibed it:

"The first thing i noticed when we broke into string to strafe the field, there were more than three airplanes in our pattern. A Jap fighter got on Howard's tail and I pulled up behind the fighter and kinda hosed him down. At the same time a Jap made an overhead pass on me and shot 33 holes in my airplane. I pulled up sharply to the left into two Japs and was in a position for a head-on pass. I squeezed the trigger and he blew up."

The victories were Hill's first two of a string of 12-1/4 with the AVG, making him the second-highest scoring ace in the Flying Tigers.