UNTIL THE LAST MOMENT
by Jim Laurier
Major Tommy McGuire was the second-highest ranking US Ace of World War II with thirty-eight victories (right behind Maj. Dick Bong, who had forty). On 7 January 1945, McGuire led a flight of four P-38s to the Japanese airfield at Fabrica on the island of Negros in the Philippines.
McGuire's tenure was just about up, and he wanted to increase his score before he was shipped back to the United States. Over Negros, the P-38s encountered a couple of Ki-43 "Oscars," one of which was piloted by veteran ace Akira Sugimoto, who quickly downed one of the Lightnings. Sugimoto was a formidable opponent, and his nimble fighter was soon closing in on a second P-38, which was piloted by Capt Ed Weaver. McGuire called on the radio for Weaver to drop tanks and pull hard to the left while he cut in front of the Oscar to draw its fire away. For some reason, however, McGuire didn't drop his own tanks, perhaps wrestling with the P-38 in his tight, steep-angle turn. A split second later, his plane snap-rolled to the left at low altitude and impacted the ground inverted, killing him instantly. McGuire's quest for glory was pushed aside in a heroic attempt to spare one of his pilots - loyal to his men until the last moment.
This moving print has been personally signed by the artist, Jim Laurier.
- 20 x 24 inches
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