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Cat. no. 77-13

Super Sabres

Date: Apr-77
Item Type: Painting
Support: Canvas (Cotton Or Linen)
Dimensions: 24 X 48
Agent / Institution: NCHF


Super Sabres. 24 x 48.

This painting was first conceived as a memorial to three friends of
mine. The airplanes were to be painted camouflage green, brown and
black, with white Vietnam fin letters, drop tanks, bomb racks,
refueling probes—generally a somber statement about war. Then I
remembered happier days, the clean airplanes dressed in gay (and
usually unauthorized) squadron markings, vestiges of ancient heraldry.
Usually four airplanes fly a scheduled mission, say air-to-air gunnery
firing on a towed dart. On the way home with some extra time and some
extra fuel, the flight leader signals to echelon right and to follow
in trail when he breaks. One by one we roll and follow around some
bright cumulus. He's pulling away! Roll the throttle outboard into
afterburner and a giant gives you a sixteen-thousand-pound kick in the
seat and you tear away from the earth like a homesick angel. Think of
it, by the time you float over the top of a great loop you have
climbed forty thousand feet. All the time the leader is twisting and
trying to lose you, and the fourth airplane careens like the tip in a
game of snap the whip. Hard work, straining, blackened turns,
flashing rolls with the horizon tumbling about you and your breath a
harsh rasping sound in your mask. Then the leader rocks his wings and
all join up to fly sedately home. That is what made it all worthwhile.
Perhaps this is a better memorial after all, for Bobby, Mitch and
Mike.

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