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Colonel Manfred Rietsch
|Manfred Rietsch joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966, later joining VMFA-513 in Vietnam. Flying the F-4 Phantom he had his first combat in 1968, and by the end of his tour had flown 653 combat missions - more than any other F-4 pilot in Vietnam. He became the first Marine instructor at Top Gun in 1973, and more recently flew 66 combat missions in the F/A-18 during Desert Storm. In all he has 7000 hours in tactical jets.|
Commander Randall H Cunningham USN
|After joining the US Navy in 1966, Randy 'Duke' Cunningham went to Vietnam with VF96, flying the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom. He became the conflict's first fighter Ace, and was to become one of the most highly decorated Aces of the war. With his RIO, Willie Driscoll, Duke achieved five victories in Vietnam, including 'three-in-a-day' on 10th May 1972. He later assumed command of the elite Navy Adversary Squadron of the Miramar Top Gun program. Retiring from the Navy, Duke was elected to Congress, where he now serves in the House of Representatives.|
Major General Marion Carl (deceased)
|Born in Hubbard, Oregon on the 1st ofNovember 1915, Carl learned to fly when he was at college and went solo after only 2 and half hours of instrruction. Marion Carl went to Oregon State College to study engineering and graduated in 1938 as a Lieutenenat in the Army Reserve, but resigned his commission to become a naval aviation cadet and in December 1939 he received his "wings of gold" and a Marine Corp commission. Marion Carl was posted to (VMF- 1) Marine Fighting Squadron One in Virginia at Quantico. In 1940 he became a instructor to train new pilots for Marine Fighting Squadron 221 (VMF-221 ) at NAS North Island in San Diego, California. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on the 7th December 1941, Carl's squadron VMF-221 were preparing to embark aboard the USS Saratoga (CV-3) bound for Oahu, Hawaii. Carl along with the rest of the squadron were rushed to Hawaii and became part of the Wake Island Relief Task Force. He was still onboard the carrier Saratoga when the relief force was cancelled, and VMF-221 went to Midway Atoll on Christmas Day. Carl's first combat occured on June 4th 1942 during the Battle of Midway, when 15 of the 25 aircraft of VMF-221 were shot down but, Carl was credited with destroying one enemy aircraft, a Mitsubishi Zero. Carl was reassigned to VMF-223 Marine Fighting Squadron 223 which was commanded by a former squadron mate from VMF-221, Capt. John Smith. On August 20th, VMF-223 was deployed to Guadalcanal and was the first fighter sqaudron ashore with the Cactus Air Force. Between the end of August and the end of October Marion Carl became the Marines' first ace, when Carl had reached 16.5 victories though he was shot down once and was forced to bail out. It is believed Marion Carl was the pilot who shot down the famous Japanese Navy Tainan Kokutai ace Junicho Sasai over Henderson Field. By the end of the war Carl would increase his air victories to 18.5 victories. In 1947 he broke the speed record and in 1953 held the world altitude record. During a second test pilot tour, Carl set an unofficial altitude record of 83,000 feet in the Douglas D-558/II. He was the first pilot to be launched from a carrier by catapult. He had 490 hours in the Phantom I, flying combat recon flights over Red China. Commanding air wings in Vietnam in 1965, he took the First Marine Brigade to Danang, South Vietnam. Despite his seniority, he repeatedly flew combat missions in Helicopter gunships and jet fighters. General Carl received his second star as a Major General in 1967. In 1968 he commanded the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing at Herry Point until 1970. Subsequently he served as Inpector General of the Marine Corps until retiring in 1973. At that time he had logged some 13,000 flying hours, more than twice as much as most. He flew the F-4 regularly - one of the few Generals to do so. In 1998, on June 28th at age 82, Major General Marion Carl was shot to death with a shotgun during a robbery, defending his wife Edna from a home invader. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetary.|
|The Aircraft :|
|Phantom||The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engined, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor fighter/fighter-bomber produced for the U.S. Navy by Mcdonnell Douglas. It became a major part of the United States Navy, Marine Corps and American Air Force. The Phantom F-4 saw service with all American forces during the Vietnam war serving as a fighter and ground attack aircraft. The Phantom first saw service in 1960 but continued in service until the 1980ís (being replaced by the F-15 and F-16 ) The last Phantoms saw service during the Gulf war in 1991 being used for reconnaissance. Other nations also used the Phantom to great success. The Israeli Air Force used them during various Arab-Israeli wars and the Phantom also saw service in the Iranian Air Force during the Iran Iraq War. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built. The Royal Air Force and the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy flew versions based on the F-4. The British Phantoms were powered by Rolls Royce Spey engines and also received British avionics, under the names pf Phantom FG.1 and Phantom FGR.2. The last British Phantoms served with 74 Squadron until they were dispanded in 1992.|
|Artist Details : Robert Watts|
|Click here for a full list of all artwork by Robert Watts|
In a 25 year career beginning as an illustrator for the Ryan Aeronautical Company in 1966, Robert Watts has established an enviable reputation professionally illustrating for leading aerospace corporations, including Hughes, Teledyne, General Dynamics, and Northrop. In 1971 he was asked to join the Naval Art Program and served as a Naval Combat Artist during the Vietnam years. Turning to fine art painting just two years ago, he astonished the American aviation art world with the high quality of his paintings, taking the coveted BEST OF SHOW award at the 1992 A.S.A.A. exhibition at his very first attempt. Winning the award two consecutive years, in competition with Americas finest aviation artists, is a feat no other artist has ever achieved, and gives notice that a new star has firmly established himself on the aviation art scene.
More about Robert Watts
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