Friday, May 9, 2014

P-51C Mustang of the 35th FS, Lt. Huneycutt

P-51C flown by Lt. Huneycutt, China 1944 by Ron Cole

I enjoy all commissions, but especially those that have me painting a composition of a client's father's or grandfather's aircraft from World War II. Such was the case for the above piece. The son came to me to paint Dad's P-51C Mustang fighter. The father had flown with the 14th Air Force in China in 1943 through 1944 with the 'Yellow Scorpions' - the 530th Fighter Squadron.

We discussed several possible missions that would provide some great compositions, but kept coming around to one in particular that had provided his father, Lt. John Huneycutt, with some press back home at the time.

While flying a ground attack sortie against the Japanese Army airfield at Tsinan, China, Lt. Huneycutt strafed a Ki-48 'Lilly' light bomber and detonated its bomb load. The shock wave rattled the P-51.

Upon return to his 'West China' base, Lt. Huneycutt's ground crew were astonished to see their aircraft taxiing up to them while "shedding parts of itself and the [Japanese] plane" it had destroyed. Pieces of the Ki-48's radio and air frame were wrapped around the fuselage of the Mustang and embedded in the tail and fuselage.

"That's one way to confirm a kill," Huneycutt later told his hometown paper in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lt. John Huneycutt 

- Ron Cole

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