"SCRAMBLE FOR THE MARIANAS"
Autographed by Alex Vraciu, Richard "Zeke" Cormier, Hamilton "Mac" McWhorter, Armistead "Chick" Smith.
L/E of 1000. Artist Proofs signed and numbered by the artist.
Size: 36" x 26"
CLASSIC FIGHTER SERIES
Radar has already picked up a large number of bogies approaching the American carrier force and TF-58 Commander, Rear Admiral Mitscher, has ordered every available Hellcat into the air. Immediately they are airborne, the Hellcat pilots will be vectored towards the intercept, 90 miles out the two mighty aerial forces will collide.
On that historic day, American Navy pilots ripped into wave after wave of enemy aircraft. As each new onslaught arrived there were more fighters there to meet them. Other squadrons joined in the melee and the radio circuits crackled with shouts, curses, warnings and cries of encouragement. "Hell this is like an old time turkey shoot!" yelled one pilot - and thus the battle became known as the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot.
By the late afternoon the sky over TF-58 was swept clear of enemy aircraft, two Japanese carriers had been sunk by submarines and an incredible 373 enemy planes shot down. Mitscher lost only 23 aircraft and not one of his task force was seriously damaged. The U.S. Navy pilots had won an historic victory that paved the way to the final onslaught upon Japan.
Seen hurtling off the deck of the U.S.S. Lexington in Nicolas Trudgian's highly dramatic painting is the F6F Hellcat of Lt. Alex Vraciu of Fighting Squadron VF-16. With 12 victories already to his credit, Vraciu would add a further 6 to his tally in the space of just 8 minutes on that momentous day.
Joining Alex Vraciu in signing Nick's remarkable new limited edition are three distinguished Navy Hellcat Aces, making this final print in Nick Trudgian's Classic Fighter Series, a true collectors item.
Alex Vraciu first saw combat flying the F6F Hellcat off carriers with VF-6, becoming an Ace in January 1944. Transferring to VF-16 aboard U.S.S. Lexington his tally of victories continued to mount and during the Great Marianas Turkey Shoot he splashed six dive bombers in eight minutes, the following day adding a Zero, bringing his total to 19. His luck ran out in December 1944 when he was shot down strafing an airfield. Bailing out, he spent five weeks with Filipino guerrillas before meeting up with advancing Americans. He ended the war as the U.S. Navy's fourth highest Ace, and retired in 1963.
Captain RICHARD 'ZEKE' CORMIER US.N.
Commander HAMILTON 'MAC' McWHORTER U.S.N.
Captain ARMISTEAD 'CHICK' SMITH US.N.