Hand signed and numbered by William S. Phillips|
From a 1984 sold out limited edition
Image size: 26 1/4" x 13 1/8"
Donald LOPEZ - WWII Ace
Situation: Shortly after dawn, December 12, 1943, six thousand feet over the hills and crop lands near the airfield in Hengyang, China, Don Lopez takes part in his very first Jing Bao, or scramble. After jettisoning their tanks, the P-40s came into the middle of a flight of 35 to 40 Japanese Oscars pursuing a P-40, closed in on it and fired a burst, catching the attention of the pilot of the Oscar. The Oscar turned and began a head-on attack. Both pilots were getting strikes, and Lopez fully expected the Japanese pilot to break first. However, the Japanese pilot must have been thinking the same as Lopez, for at the last moment, the Oscar broke right. But it was too late. The Oscar's left wing ripped into the outer section of the P-40's left wing. The Oscar's wing ripped out at mid-section, and three feet of Lopez' wing disappeared.
In this painting, both aircraft are shown several seconds after impact as the Oscar rolls left and begins to spin to earth out of control. Lopez checks out the missing section of wing, but the rugged little P-40 is still flying so well that he decides to attack another Oscar, which he helps to shoot down.
This was Lopez' first kill, and a rather spectacular way to begin his combat tour. Joining up with his flight leader, Lopez returned to base without further incident. After this tour, Lopez went on to become an ace.