4 of 6 on the 6th.
Ace Willis E. Hardy
Easter Sunday, April 1st 1945, Operation Iceberg, the invasion
of Okinawa begins. This would be the largest amphibious assault
inthe Pacific theater. Navy carrier-based Pilots will face Kikusui
the first of massive raids sent to destroy the American invading
Task Force. Over the next 83 days, Hellcat squadrons will claim
837 enemy aircraft destroyed.
Flying F6F Hellcats Ensign Bill Hardy and his wingman are Flying
RAPCAP over a Radar Picket ship north of Okinawa. They intercept
Japanese aircraft and shoot down two escorting aircraft and four
Kamikazes. Bill is credited with four of the enemy aircraft destroyed,
two Vals, one Judy and a Zeke.
At about sunset the two pilots are vectored to intercept two Yokusuka
D4Y4 Judy aircraft that are stalking a burning picket.
The painting above
depicts the destruction of the first Judy after Bill had flamed it and just
before it crashes into the sea with a violent explosion.
With only one gun still operational, Bill dispatches the second Judy
after dark. Billís is awarded the
prestigious Navy Cross for his 5th and
final victory, followed
by his very first carrier landing at night.
Hand signed by the Ace Willis E. Hardy
Overall size 17" x 22" - $95.00
4 OF 6 ON THE 6TH by ROY GRINNELL (Willis E. Hardy: F6-F Hellcat: Pacific Theater)@vbader.com