Late November, 1941, Clark Field, Philippine Islands…The U.S. Army Air Corps prepares for days of infamy ahead. As P-40 aircraft take to the skies, the crews of new B-17 Fortresses of the 19th Bomb Group prepare for the day’s practice missions. Mere days after this scene, Clark Field and other nearby U.S. bases would be savaged by enemy surprise attacks. Many would be taken prisoner, and some of those shown here, such as Colin Kelly and Harl Pease, would gain tragic fame. Among this gallant group were some of the first to inspire America at war, doing so much with so little, fighting with what they had.
Completed in 2001, the original of They Fought With What They Had was a mammoth 10’ by 5’ oil painting commissioned by well-known aviation art collector Eugene Eisenberg. Through diligent research and sourcing wartime photos, the Artist John Shaw was able to accurately depict the individuals in this scene.
The personnel depicted are as follows:
19th Bomb Group personnel shown in foreground, left to right: Lt. Henry Godman, Sgt. Meyer Levin, Sgt. James Halkyard, Lt. Joseph Bean (kneeling), Capt. Colin Kelly, Sgt. John Wallach, Sgt. J.W. DeLehanty, PFC Robert Altman, PFC W. Money (on bumper).
On Jeep: Lt. William Bohnaker, Lt. Edward Jacquet, Lt. Harl Pease Jr., Lt. Jack Heinzel, Lt. Don Robins. Far Right: Capt. Emmet “Rosie” O’Donnell, Lt. Col. Gene Eubank, Gen. Lewis Brereton. P-40 pilot: Joseph Moore.
Each print has been personally autographed by the artist. John Shaw and the following veterans of Clark Field:
EDWARD JACKFERT – B-17 Crew Chief during first attack on Clark Field.
Col. EDWARD M. JACQUET – Clark Field B-17 Copilot, 47 combat missions with the 19th Bomb Group.
Lt.Col. MELVIN A. MCKENZIE – Clark Field B-17 Copilot and Navigator.
This outstanding piece from one of the world’s foremost aviation and military artists expertly captures typical scene that would have taken place at Clark Field in November 1941.