by John Shaw
Print Sizes: 31" x 19"
Edition Size: 290
Autumn, 1945… For countless American boys who sailed off to war in the Pacific, the Golden Gate Bridge was their last sight of home. Many would never return. In this scene depicted in "THE HOMECOMING," many veterans who had for months and years experienced some of the most horrific chapters in history are finally returning home to the nation they served. Over the period following the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945, military vessels of virtually every type, in addition to ‘liberty ships’ participated in Operation Magic Carpet, transporting many thousands of American troops home, between September 1945 and into the beginning of 1946.
Here, as watercraft excitedly escort some of these vessels into San Francisco Bay, F4U Corsairs roar past. Several are from VMF-214, the “Black Sheep”, based in California at this time, bearing small crests of the emblem made famous by their successors who served several years before under the command of Greg ‘Pappy’ Boyington. Joining these new late model F4Us is an old war-weary ‘birdcage’ Corsair, symbolizing the ‘early’ days when our forces were fighting for Guadalcanal and other enemy-held territories on the eventual road to Tokyo. Like the heroes below them, this tired fighter will soon retire, its mission accomplished. America is free… no homecoming would be sweeter than this.
In addition to the artist this print is individually signed in pencil by EIGHT Pacific Theatre veterans:
- Jim HILL - Boyington's Black Sheep pilot
- Gene HANSON - Torpedo 8 pilot & double Navy Cross winner
- R.V. BURGIN, USMC
- Lyle BRADLEY - Corsair pilot, USS Bennington (WWII) & Black Sheep (post-war)
- Darrell SMITH - Corsair pilot who flew with the famous VMF-312 "Checkerboarders"
- Thurman “T.I.” MILLER, USMC
- James BURKE, USMC
- Bob BRUNSON - USS Enterprise Night Fighter Corsair pilot
Also included in this special VICTORY EDITION of "The Homecoming" is:
- Color Certificate of Authenticity with "History Behind the Art" story
NOTE: PRINT IS SOLD UNFRAMED (See the framed example - shown WITHOUT signatures - by clicking on the small image above.)
DETAILS and CLOSE-UPS
What is the secret story behind John Shaw’s "THE HOMECOMING?” The clue is found in the white clipper plane in the distance. But who is on that plane? And why are the Black Sheep Squadron Corsairs buzzing San Francisco Bay?
The answer begins with the date on which this painting is set—September 12, 1945.
While America's fighting men return from the Pacific on ships below, a group of Marine pilots are gathering in San Francisco. Some are coming by train, some by car. Some are flying in behind the controls of their Corsair fighters. They are the pilots of the Black Sheep squadron.
During the war in the islands, their legendary leader, the hard-drinking, cigar-chewing, brawler “Pappy Boyington” told them, “If you ever see me go down… I promise I’ll meet you in a San Diego bar six months after the war.” Pappy's intuition was right. He would be shot down over Rabaul in January 1944 and taken prisoner by the Japanese. For the rest of the war, his pilots prayed he’d make it home alive.
Now, with the war’s end, “The Word” went out to the Black Sheep—Pappy’s coming home on a white clipper plane. This is the moment shown in John Shaw's "THE HOMECOMING.” Instead of meeting him in San Diego, six months after the war the Black Sheep pilots have come to San Francisco to meet Pappy, now.