January 30, 1944 marked a significant moment in 15th Air Force history, as six heavy bomb groups and 60 P-47s successfully carried out major strikes on enemy targets in the Villaorba and Udine areas of Northern Italy. The bombers took off first and set out on a high-altitude mission while the Thunderbolts launched out over the Adriatic Sea at such low altitude that their prop tips were kicking up ocean spray. Arriving at the coastline precisely on schedule, they climbed and headed for their first target - a German airfield launching aircraft to attack the heavy bombers.Mike Machat’s dramatic painting depicts Captain Herschel H. Green leading the four-ship “A” Flight of Republic P-47D-15RE Thunderbolts into a second low-level strafing run as intense ground fire erupts around them. Enemy Do 217s, Macchi 202s, and Ju-52s tried to scramble back to their home base, but Green and his wingmen, 2nd Lt. George P. Novotny, F/O Cecil O. Dean, and F/O Edsel Paulk, prevented 15 of them from ever reaching safety. A total of 37 enemy aircraft fell to the Checkertail Clan that day.Herschel “Herky” Green was born in the small town of Mayfield, Kentucky and learned to fly in the Civilian Pilot Training Program while at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He was appointed Army Aviation Cadet in 1941 and received his wings and commission as 2nd Lieutenant at Foster Field, Texas in 1942. He flew P-40s, P-47s, and P-51s with the 317th Squadron, 325th Fighter Group, and with 18 confirmed kills, became one of the few American pilots to rank as an ace in two different aircraft. Green was also credited with the 317th’s first aerial victory, and became Squadron Commander in March 1944.EDITION: 1000 signed/numbered by Mike Machat and Col. Herschel H. Green (USAF, Ret.) SIZE: 18” x 24” Herschel "Herky" Green (Hickory, Kentucky, July 3, 1920 - Torrance, California, August 16, 2006) was a World War II flying ace in the United States Army Air Forces. Green was the leading ace of the Fifteenth Air Force downing 18 enemy aircraft and destroying 10 more on the ground. He flew in 1943 and 1944 in the North Africa and Italian campaigns with the 325th Fighter Group. By the end of 1944, he had flown 100 missions and received the Distinguished Service Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 25 Oak Leaf Clusters, Silver Star and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.He published his memoirs Herky!: the Memoirs of a Checkertail Ace in 1996.The "Checkertail" refers to the group's recognition markings. The tail of each aircraft was painted yellow with black squares.
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