06 August, 2011

Profile 56 - ????? as flown by Ken Dahlberg

Today was the first time in two weeks where I could really sit down and indulge myself in this particular airplane.  I'm sorry I can't report more details at this time, but I hope to shortly.

In the meantime, this gorgeously brutal P-47 Thunderbolt of the 354th Fighter Group will likely be finished this weekend.  I just have to mask-in the tail and even out the lighting on the hard-worn fuselage.  And redo the skull.

Not too many photos of Ken's P-47 exist, but enough do of the 353rd Squadron's flying-skull nose design.  As a little kid - geez, maybe 5 years old - the photo below made its way into my memory.  The specific book is forgotten, but the image of the page on the kitchen table remains vivid.  But one of the strangest recollections of that time was that I somehow assigned construction sounds to the photograph.

Of course, I'd never heard a taxiing P-47.  But mentally, I could imagine clanks, whirrs and strains of metal, gears, engines.   And that logo!  Brilliant!  I'd like to meet the mind that created it - today, that winged-skull trademark could launch a million dollar clothing line...

Anyway, in hindsight, that childhood audio memory makes sense - America was in the construction business.  The Axis needed to be demolished and the scene made anew to build it back up again.

The American nation's sense of cooperation, of shared responsibility, of compelling vision is - in a tiny way - portrayed in the photo of the soldier laying on the pilot's wing, guiding him through the taxiway of a foreign land...

I look at the photo and feel very, very proud to be an American.

Maybe it'll do the same for you today, too.

The airplane above was flown by Maj. Glenn Eagleston, 354th FG, 353rd FS.   If you'd like to know more about Eagleston, I suggest you click here to learn more about his military career.  He died in 1991.