During WWII, the U.S. Army Air Corps was the most dashing and sought out service branch that a young man could join. There was a certain romanticism of taking the war to the enemy, high above the ground in the unique flying machines of the day.
The Air Corps also took the highest casualties of the war. While British bombers struck Germany by night, American bombers attacked the Reich during daylight hours and many were shot down by German flack and fighters. It wasn’t until the P-51 Mustang entered combat in the summer of 1944 that bomber crews had escort fighters that could guard them all the way to the targets in Germany and back to the safety of England.
In this painting, a damaged, Consolidated B-24 Liberator is on a lonely journey back to its base. The damage to the airplane has slowed it down and as the rest of the formation pulled ahead and is now out of sight. The Liberator crew is on their own still in danger from the enemy. All of the sudden a P-51 Mustang appears and pulls up in front of the wounded bird giving the crew something to ease their nerves. The escort fighters were called “little friends” by the bomber crews and although the missions of the airplanes were very different they were non-the-less, Teammates!