American Fighter Aces Series
"Bogies, 11 o'clock high!" shouted Lt. Doug Canning, breaking a two-hour radio silence. Maj. John Mitchell had led sixteen P-38s of his 339th Fighter Squadron from Guadalcanal's Henderson Field to Bougainville on 18 April 1943 to intercept the Betty bomber carrying Japanese Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto. Now, after flying 400 miles at 50 feet above the water, navigating by pure dead-reckoning, the flight sighted two Betty bombers escorted by six Zeroes descending toward Ballale Island.
Maj. Mitchell and twelve Lightnings climbed to provide high cover while Capt. Tom Lanphier and Lts. Rex Barber, Frank Holmes and Ray Hine – the designated "attack flight" – turned to intercept the bombers. As they climbed toward the Bettys, Lanphier was three Zeroes diving to defend the bombers and turned sharply into the lead fighter, leaving Barber to continue the attack on the bomber. Curving in behind the lead bomber, Barber raked the descending Betty from wingtip to wingtip. Thick black smoke began to stream from the right engine and the bomber snapped to the left. Moments later it sliced into the jungle, the crash site marked by a rising column of black, oily smoke.
Turning toward the coast, Barber finished off the second Betty now under attack by Frank Holmes, and downed a Zero that had belatedly joined the battle from nearby Kahili Airdrome. Shortly after, Mitchell called "Mission Accomplished!" and fifteen Lightnings turned toward Guadalcanal. Lt. Ray Hine, last seen skimming over the water with smoke trailing from his engine, did not return from the mission and was never found.
"Mission Accomplished" is hand signed by P-38 Ace 1st Lt. Rex T. Barber, 339th Fighter Squadron, Thirteenth Air Force. Lt. Barber is credited with the shootdown of Yamamoto's aircraft on April 18th, 1943 over Bougainville, Solomon Islands. This was Lt. Barber's Fourth Victory. This lithograph is also signed by several P-38 pilots who were on the Yamamoto mission including Besby Holmes, Doug Canning, John W. Mitchell, Lou Kittel, Roger Ames, Jack Jacobson, Del Goerke, 9 signatures in all, and artist Roy Grinnell.
The overall size of this lithograph is 24" x 30"
1250 Signed and Numbered Limited Edition Lithographs: $275.00