Masters of the Sky by Richard Taylor
The three squadrons of P-51 Mustangs that made up the 352nd Fighter Group contained a remarkable collection of fearless young aviators who, amongst other things, provided more 'Aces in a Day' than any other P-51 Group in any theatre.
These were pilots such as George Freddy -the highest scoring P-51 Mustang Ace in the Eighth Air Force - who downed 6 Me 109s in a single day, and Don Bryan with 5 victories in a day. No less than twenty nine of the USAAF's top aerial Aces in Europe were also from the 352nd FG, and twelve 352nd pilots scored aerial victories over the revolutionary German jet fighters. The 352nd also contained the 487th Fighter Squadron, led by Colonel J.C. Meyer -the seventh highest scoring Allied Ace of WWII - the only unit in the Eighth Air Force to have been awarded a Distinguished Unit Citation, in recognition for the squadron's action during Operation Bodenplatte, on New Year's Day 1945.
To commemorate the men who flew with the 352nd Fighter Group during World War II, Richard Taylor has created his magnificent new painting, Masters of the Sky. Led by their Commanding Officer Major George Freddy, the P-51 Mustang pilots of the 328th Fighter Squadron engage in a bitter struggle with Luftwaffe fighters in the cold winter air high over eastern Germany. They have been escorting B-17 Fortresses attacking the heavily defended synthetic oil plant at Merseberg, 21 November 1944. As the B-17s turn safely towards home above them, Freddy skilfully manages to down one of the attacking Fwl90s in the ensuing melee.
This outstanding new limited edition, together with the masterful companion drawing Preparing for Action, further enhances Richard Taylor's growing reputation as one of the world's greatest aviation art talents. And with prints signed by some of the 352nd's most respected pilots and by a number of their vital ground crew, this is an edition for all collectors of aviation art to treasure and admire.
Overall Size: 32 " wide x 24 " high image Size: 25½" wide x 16¼ " high Acid Free Permanent Paper.
THE COMPANION PRINT
To enhance this outstanding Commemorative portfolio, this signed, matching numbered companion print (overall print size 21¼ " wide x 12" high; image size 17¼ " wide x 6" high) is issued with each copy of Masters of the Sky.
Vital to any unit were the hardworking ground crews whose job it was to keep the mighty warbirds of the Eighth flying. Highly respected by the pilots for their endeavours, these skilful men knew every inch of the magnificent machines in their charge. Richard Taylor's wonderfully emotive drawing Preparing for Action features Major George Freddy's crew chief Art Snyder together with his crew as they work frantically to ready the P-51 Ds of the 352nd FG in readiness for yet another sortie.
Captain GEORGE MIDDLETON
Joining the 352nd Fighter Group in March 1944, George flew 85 combat sorties with them until the end of hostilities in May 1945. He flew P-51 Worm Bird, and acted as wingman to both George Freddy and Don Bryan on many occasions. George is credited with 2 aerial victories.
Staff Sergeant ART SNYDER (Companion print)
Serving with the 352nd FG from 1942 to 1945 Art Snyder was George Freddy's greatly respected crew chief who kept his P-51 Cripes A 'Mighty flying to perfection, invaluable to Freddy as the highest scoring P-51 Ace in the Eighth Air Force. Art also doubled as the unit's barber, often decorating Freddy's Mustang with a small barber's pole to the right hand engine nacelle!
THE LIMITED EDITION
700 signed & numbered
THE COLLECTORS' EDITION
With all the components of the Limited Edition, the FOUR .signature Collectors 'Edition is additionally signed by the following highly distinguished 352nd fighter pilots:
First Lieutenant WALTER G. 'JACK' DIAMOND
'Jack' Diamond joined the 487th FS, 352nd FG in October 1944 and flew P-51 Mustang Twyla Sue with them until the end of the war. He was one of the few pilots who not only managed to get airborne during the Luftwaffe's 1945 New Year's Day onslaught of Operation Bodenplatte, but scored an aerial victory and damaged another as well.
Lieutenant Colonel DONALD S. BRYAN
Originally a P-40 instructor with the 79th FS, 20th FG, Don Bryan then
transferred to the 328th FS, 352nd FG as a flight leader flying P-47s. Moving
to Bodney, England in June, he flew with the group on its first combat mission
in September, flying his P-47 Little One, named after his girlfriend Frances
Norman. In April 1944, he transitioned to P-5is, Little One //and Little One If I,
and completed his first combat tour in Mayl944. He returned to the 328th FS in
August, became an Ace two months later, and gained 'Ace in a Day' status on 2 November when
he downed five Fwl90s in a single mission. Don flew 140 combat missions, never lost a wingman,
and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, second only to the Congressional MOH.
THE COLLECTORS' EDITION with FOUR signatures
750 Collectors 'Edition
THE BLUE NOSE EDITION
In addition to the components of the Collectors' Edition, the ELEVEN signature Blue Nose Edition is signed by a further three well known 352nd FG pilots:
Captain ROBERT H. 'PUNCHY' POWELL
'Punchy' Powell joined the 328th FS of the 352nd Fighter Group in August 1943 and flew 83 combat missions with them in P-47s and P-5ls until the end of his tour in December 1944. His P-51 was The West "by gawd" Virginian. He was credited with sharing in the destruction of 2 enemy aircraft in aerial combat plus 3 damaged, and destroying 3.5 enemy aircraft on the ground, plus 2 probables while strafing enemy airfields.
Lieutenant Colonel RAYMOND R. MITCHELL
Ray Mitchell flew 69 combat missions with the 328th FS, 352nd FG from August 1944 until late April 1945; his P-51 was Carol. He flew as George Freddy's wingman many times and was in his flight on 25 December 1944 when Freddy was killed by friendly ground fire chasing after an enemy aircraft. Ray is credited with 1 aerial victory.
Lieutenant CHARLES M. PRICE
Assigned to the 486th Fighter Squadron at Bodney, Charles Price arrived in England in December J944. He undertook his first combat mission in his P-51 Little Skunk on 6 February 1945, and went on complete a total of 27 before the end of hostilities. He is credited with 3 enemy aircraft destroyed on the ground.
We are delighted to announce that also signing the companion print on the Blue Nose Edition are four ground crew veterans who served with the 352nd Fighter Group in Europe. These men were pivotal to the success of their fighter pilots:
Staff Sergeant JAMES BLEIDNER
James Bleidner served as an armourer in the 487th Fighter Squadron in England from July 1943 to August 1945,
Master Sergeant RALPH McLAIN
Ralph McLain was attached to the 352nd FG as a Radar Operator from their arrival in England until the end of the war. After the war he flew as aircrew on P-36 and B-52s as a Radar & Electronic Countermeasure specialist,
Staff Sergeant BILL STRAUB
Deploying to England in July 1943, Bill Straub was assigned to the 487th Fighter Squadron,
where he served as an aircraft and engine mechanic until September 1945.
Corporal HOWARD POLIN
Howard deployed to England in April 1944, and was posted to Bodney as part of the 18th Weather Squadron, attached to the 352nd Fighter Group, where he served until the end of
THE BLUE NOSE EDITION with ELEVEN signatures
100 Blue Nose Edition
THE ARTIST PROOF & REMARQUE EDITIONS
In addition to the components of the Blue Nose Edition, these TWELVE signature editions are additionallysigned on the main print by:
Captain DONALD W. 'MAC' McKlBBEN. Don McKibben was also one of the original cadre of pilots with the 352nd Fighter Group. He flew 80 combat missions with the 486th FS in P-47s and P-51s until September 1944. He flew the famous P-51 Miss Lace and with the others of the 486th took part in the first shuttle mission to Russia led by Don Blakeslee of the 4th Fighter Group. McKibben is credited with 2 aerial victories and 1 probable.
ARTIST PROOF & REMARQUE EDITIONS with TWELVE signatures
50 Artist Proofs
10 Double Remarques
A Giclee Edition may be issued at a later date