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ABOUT Pacific Summer

The subject of this painting is America’s second highest-scoring aces, Thomas B. McGuire, who would become the second-highest scoring U.S. fighter pilot, with 38 confirmed kills, just behind Richard Bong (40 kills). His outfit, the 475th Fighter Group, was nicknamed “Satan’s Angels and was formed in Australia in May 1943. A part of General George Kenney’s 5th Air Force, it was the only outfit to use the Lockheed P-38 Lightning from the beginning of its combat tour until the end of hostilities in World War II. McGuire proved to be a controversial character, flying his personal mounts, all dubbed “Pudgy” I through V, and stressed three cardinal rules to pilots flying combat in the P-38: Never attempt combat at low altitude, never allow your airspeed to fall below 300 mph (because at speeds higher than 300 mph, the Zero’s maneuverability suffers), and never keep your wing fuel tanks in a fight. On 6 January, 1945, McGuire violated all three of his rules in a duel over a Japanese fighter strip at Los Negros Island. Stalling at well over 300 mph, with his wing tanks still on, Tommy McGuire plunged into the jungle, ending his brilliant record and his life. He would receive the Medal of Honor and McGuire AFB in New Jersey would be named in his honor.

The painting Pacific Summer was John Shaw’s very first WWII combat scene, painted in 1993. Originally reproduced as an open-edition poster for a small gallery & gift shop located in Fresno, California, Pacific Summer was soon noticed by a small, independent publisher in Reno, Nevada and turned into a limited-edition lithograph, featuring the signatures of 5 pilots of the 475th. When Liberty Studios was formed in 1994, two hundred of these lithographs which had not been signed were acquired, and became an “Aces Edition”, with seven of the prominent 475th Fighter Group aces participating in the signing.