- The Stuff of Legend -
by Robert Taylor
|P-40's of the AVG Flying Tigers 3rd Pursuit Squadron - Hell’s Angels - deliver a deadly strafing attack on a Japanese forward air-base in China, summer 1942. With their Allison engines screaming at full throttle, AVG Aces Tommy Haywood and Robert Smith, lead the charge as the Hell’s Angels leave a trail of havoc and destruction behind them.|
|Overall size: 24" x 32½"||Available in the following editions|
|275||Limited edition||Signed by four Flying Tigers pilots||$320|
|200||Collectors edition||With six Flying Tigers pilot signatures - including two on companion print||$375|
|25||Artist's proof||As above||$525|
|Limited edition signatures|
|Dick Rossi||Erik Shilling||Tex Hill|
|Collector edition signatures|
|Dick Rossi||Erik Shilling||Tex Hill|
|Chuck Older||Wayne Johnson (companion print)||Ron Phillips (companion print)|
Flight Leader John R. 'Dick' Rossi
Dick Rossi resigned his Navy commission in 1941 to join the AVG and first saw combat over Burma early in January 1942.
Over the next six months he flew with all three AVG ‘Flying Tiger’ squadrons and became an Ace with 6¼ confirmed air
victories and 6 more probables. At the end of his combat tour with the AVG and their disbandment, ‘Dick’ Rossi joined the
China National Aviation Corporation ferrying supplies across the Hump from India into China and by the war’s end had notched up an impressive record of around 750 trips.
|Flight Leader Eriksen 'Erik' Shilling
Erik Shilling was one of the first pilots to volunteer for the AVG and flew with them in the 3rd Pursuit Squadron (Hells Angels)
until the unit disbanded. A photo reconnaissance expert, he flew many dangerous missions in his P-40 modified for this
vital camera work, which included the removal of four of his machine guns, nevertheless he still scored one aerial victory.
After the AVG was incorporated into the 23rd FG he joined the China National Aviation Corporation, flying 700 round trips over the Hump. In 1945 he joined Chennault’s Civil Air Transport in China, and later dropped agents into China during the Korean War.
|Brigadier General David L. 'Tex' Hill
After serving aboard the USS Saratoga and USS Ranger as a Navy pilot, Tex Hill resigned his commission and volunteered for the AVG, to become a Squadron Leader in the 2nd Pursuit Squadron (Panda Bears) until its disbandment on 4 July 1942, by which time he was
the AVG’s second highest scoring Ace. He remained in China with the 23rd Fighter Group, later commanding it and increasing his
total to 18¼ victories. At the end of the war he commanded the 412th FG, the first USAF Group to be equipped with jets;
and later served in Korea.
|Colonel Charles H. 'Chuck' Older
Resigning from the Marine Corps in 1941 to join the AVG 3rd Pursuit Squadron (Hells Angels), he took part in the great ‘Christmas’ air battles over Rangoon, shooting down 5 Japanese aircraft. With 10¼ victories to his credit he joined the USAAF when the AVG were disbanded, becoming Deputy Group Commander of the 23rd FG flying P-51s. He later led the initial strike against Shanghai, resulting in the destruction of 77 Japanese aircraft. He completed the war with 18¼ air victories and later became a top superior court judge.
|Lieutenant Wayne G. 'Whitey' Johnson
Wayne Johnson, enlisted in the Air Corps on 8 December 1941, the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and trained as
a fighter pilot. After completing training he was posted to China to join the 23rd Fighter Group - the ‘Flying Tigers’ - where he
flew with the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron. He was one of the sixteen P-51 Mustang pilots who participated in the
first strike against Japanese airfields near Shanghai, where they destroyed 97 planes on the ground without loss.
|Captain Ronald M. 'Ron' Phillips
Drafted a few months after Pearl Harbor, Ron Phillips graduated from the Airplane & Engine School in Glendale, CA, and began
training as a pilot. Commissioned in 1943 he was posted to the 23rd Fighter Group, Claire Chennault’s ‘Flying Tigers’ and part
of the 14th Air Force. Arriving in Kweilin in the summer of 1944 he flew with the 118th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron the
‘Black Lightnings’- the fourth squadron of the 23th FG, equipped with P-51 Mustangs.