FIGHTING 17 - THE JOLLY ROGERS
by Nicolas Trudgian
Overall Print Size: 36" x 24"
Edition Size: 1000
With its macabre skull and crossbones insignia, and a reputation for total disdain of authority, VF-17 arrived in the Pacific with a variety of nicknames ranging from the Irregulars to the Casto0ffs, but under the dynamic leadership of their Squadron Commander, Tom Blackburn, VF-17 made their presence felt immediately upon their arrival in the Fall of 1943. Equipped with the F4U Corsair, VF-17 pilots had what Blackburn was convinced was the best fighter aircraft of World War II, and on 1st November, during the invasion of Bougainville, VF-17 pilots shot down six Japanese planes in their first taste of battle - two falling to the guns of their commanding officer. Over the next 8500 hours of combat in the Solomons, its pilots shot down 156 enemy aircraft, 8 Japanese aircraft for each plane it lost, and produced the highest number of Aces of any squadron in the Navy. Blackburn's Fighting 17 were the toast of the Navy brass, earned the respect of their peers, and became known throughout the Pacific as "The Jolly Rogers."
"THE JOLLY ROGERS" shows a typical scene in the Solomons in 1943, when VF-17 accounted for 18.5 Japanese planes during the historic November Battle of the Solomon Sea. The day's fighting over, as dusk falls over the picturesque Pacific Islands, the Jolly Rogers return to their base at Ondongo. Some will land with just a few gallons of fuel left. Full of vibrant colors, atmosphere and action, Nicolas Trudgian brings to life the words of Tom Blackburn in his book The Jolly Rogers, "The scene was so magnificent, and even with my preoccupation with doing my job, I couldn't help but be impressed by the magnificence of the scenic area we were fighting in."
In addition to the artist each print in the edition has been individually signed in pencil by these FOUR VF-17 Navy Fighter Pilots:
- Captain TOM BLACKBURN
- Rear Admiral ROGER HEDRICK
- Lieutenant DAN CUNNINGHAM
- Lieutenant TOM KILLEFER
Comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.