Phantom! - the name that struck terror into the hearts of the
The biggest, fastest, most powerful fighter of its day, the McDonnell
Phantom was an awesome war machine that came to dominate aerial combat
for over two decades. It may have been the size of many World War II bombers
but it could out-perform anything that crossed its path; it was quicker,
could turn faster, was better equipped with electronics, carried more
ordnance than anything comparable, and it had an unbelievable rate of
climb. The F-4 Phantom was the benchmark against which every fighter in
the world came to be judged; it was simply the best.
When it saw combat for the first time, in Vietnam in 1961, it was the
lucky Navy and Marine Corps pilots who were the first to fly it. Whether
it was carrier-based attack with the Navy, land-based bombing missions
with the Marines, air combat sorties, or Forward Air Control missions,
it was unbeatable. So impressed were the Air Force that they bought it
too, and three years later, in 1964, the USAF received their Phantoms.
The Air Force pilots just couldn't wait to get their hands on it.
One of those just itching to take it into combat was a young, then Captain,
Steve Ritchie. Flying with the 555th TFS, the illustrious 'Triple Nickel',
Ritchie would, in the space of a few weeks during Operation Linebacker
in the summer of 1972 become a legend - the only USAF fighter pilot Ace
of the Vietnam War.
Robert Taylor's powerful new painting shows Steve Ritchie, first into
action, flying his lead F-4D Phantom through a hail of deadly enemy flak
as he exits the target area after a typical FAST FAC mission on enemy
installations in North Vietnam, 1972. Behind him a vast trail of devastation
marks the mission's progress, as his fellow Phantom crews continue to
wreak havoc with their heavy ordnance, the target area exploding in a
series of mighty detonations.
Superb limited edition prints of this dramatic painting by Robert Taylor
- the world's premier aviation artist — have been personally signed
by the legendary USAF fighter ace, Brigadier General Steve Ritchie, together
with his special guest signer Captain John Madden.
Overall Print Size: 34½” wide x 23½”
Each print is personally signed by the highly decorated Vietnam USAF
fighter pilot Ace Steve Ritchie, together with his special guest, Capt.
Please read about Brigadier General RICHARD ‘STEVE’
RITCHIE and Captain JOHN MADDEN below.
The Limited Edition
Edition Size - 750
The Artist Proofs
Edition Size - 50
The Giclee Canvas Proofs
Edition Size - 25
THE GICLEE CANVAS PROOFS
Only 25 Canvas Giclee Proofs will be issued in this new print edition,
each individually signed by the artist Robert Taylor. BOTH Steve Ritchie
and John Madden will individually sign the unique Presentation Certificate
issued with each Giclee Canvas Proof.
When artist Robert Taylor first saw these state-of-the-art Giclee Canvas
Proofs, he had this to say: "These giclee prints are about as near
to the original painting in colour and texture as it is possible to achieve
in reproduced format. I am deeply impressed. "
To replicate the artist's original painting so faithfully, each print
is individually worked by a specialist master printer laying down solid
colour on canvas, so that only the experienced eye can distinguish them
from the original. So life-like is the result it is necessary for us to
imprint the words "this is a giclee print reproduction" on the
reverse of the canvas to ensure they are never mistaken for the original.
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Brigadier General RICHARD 'STEVE' RITCHIE
Born in June 1942 during World War II, Steve Ritchie graduated and was
commissioned from the USAF Academy in June 1964. He flew his first combat
tour in Vietnam in 1968 on Fast FAC operations, before transferring to
the 555th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 432nd TRW for his second tour. It
was with the 555th TFS - the famed 'Triple Nickel' Squadron, that he achieved
Ace status. His first kill came on 10 May 1972 when he downed a MiG-21
forty miles northwest of Hanoi, with his second a few weeks later just
thirty miles south of the Chinese border. At the beginning of July he
downed two MiG-21s west of Hanoi. It must have been his lucky area for
on 28 August he scored his fifth and final victory in the same spot, thus
becoming the USAF's only pilot Ace of the Vietnam War, and the last US
pilot to achieve Ace status.
SPECIAL GUEST SIGNER - in tribute to the outstanding achievements of Steve
Ritchie and the 555th TFS, every print is additionally signed by a fellow
highly distinguished 'Triple Nickel' combat pilot, who flew on many of
the units most dangerous missions:
Colonel JOHN MADDEN
Flying his first combat mission on 5 October 1965, leading fighter pilot
John Maddenflew three combat tours in Vietnam, notching up an impressive
record of 3 kills and 1 damaged, flying F-4s. On 28 August 1972 he was
part of the same mission when Steve
.Ritchie made Ace. That same year Madden led over 50 combat flights and
he never lost a wingman. Flights under his leadership accounted for 5
enemy aircraft downed, and 1 damaged. He left Vietnam in 1975, and retired
from the USAF in 1984.