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RETURN OF THE RED TAILS
- ANOTHER DAY OF LIFE AND DEATH -
a fine art print by Matt Hall
September 12, 1944 . . . low over Northern Italy, the pilots of the 332nd Fighter Group shepherd home a wounded B-24 Liberator of the 455th Bomb Group after a bombing raid on the Me-262 test airfield at Lechfeld, Germany. The men of the 332nd, the first African American combat pilots, would be known as the “Tuskegee Airmen.” But, in the sky, they were simply called the “Red Tails.” On this day, the Red Tails will return to their base at Ramitelli. To them, this escort was just another day’s work. But, to the bomber crew below, they were the difference between life and death.
VICTORY EDITION PACKAGE
Only 300 prints, signed and numbered by
artist Matt Hall & 4 veterans including:
- “Red Tails” pilot Charles McGee (shown flying “Kitten”)
- “Red Tails” P-51 pilot Leo Gray
- “Red Tails” P-51 pilot George Hardy
- 15th Air Force B-24 pilot John Whitley
- Color COA with “History Behind the Art” story
Print Size: 31" x 19"
All prints are sold unframed
* Screen colors may vary from print colors
A PORTION OF EACH SALE BENEFITS
THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN ASSOCIATION!
Each print is hand signed by original Tuskegee Airmen and 15th Air Force bomber crewmen, immortalized in the upcoming George Lucas movie Red Tails!
LT. COL. LEO GRAY
Leo Gray graduated from the Tuskegee Army Airfield and was soon stationed in Italy as a fighter pilot in the 100th Fighter Squdron, 332nd Fighter Group. Gray flew 15 combat missions in P-51s for a total of 750 hours flying time. One of Gray's most memorable combat moments was encountering two Me 262 jets only to have them fly off upon seeing he and his wingman drop their wing tanks in anticipation of battle.
He remained in the USAF Reserves until 1984 retiring as a Lt. Colonel. During his 41 years of military service, Gray earned the Air Medal with Oak Leaf cluster, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Mediterranean Theatre of Operation ribbon with three battle stars.
LT. COL. GEORGE HARDY
George Hardy graduated from Tuskegee Army Air Field in September 1944 and was assigned to the 99th Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, where and flew twenty-one combat missions over Germany. During the Korean War he flew 45 combat missions in B-29s and later in Vietnam flew 70 combat missions as a pilot of an AC-119K Gunship.
Hardy retired in November 1971 with the rank of Lt. Colonel. His decorations include: the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with eleven Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster.
COL. CHARLES MCGEE
Charles McGee graduated as part of Tuskegee Army Air Field Class 43-F in 1943. Stationed in Italy with the 302nd Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group, he flew combat in the P-39, P-47, and P-51. McGee flew a total of 136 combat missions in WWII and shot down a FW-190.
McGee remained on active duty for 30 years, flying combat in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. He has flown more than 6,100 total hours and holds the record for the highest three-war total of fighter combat missions of any pilot in the U.S. Air Force history. In his remarkable military career, he earned the Legion of Merit with Cluster, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and the Air Medal with 25 Oak Leaf clusters!
LT. COL. JOHN WHITLEY
John Whitley joined the National Guard in 1938 and was called to active duty with the 30th Infantry Division in 1940. He requested flying duty, and was transferred to flight training in 1942. Upon graduation, John accumulated flight time as an instructor pilot for 10 months before volunteering to fly B-24s. In August 1944, John received a brand new B-24J and made the flight to Foggia Airfield, Italy, where he joined up with the 758th BS, 459th BG, 15th AF. Because of his flight experience, John was selected to fly as group flight leader on most of his 35 combat missions. After the war, John remained in the military, flying C-54s during the Berlin Airlift and working Air Traffic Control assignments. John retired in 1962 at the rank of Lt. Col.
THE ARTIST: MATT HALL
Now acknowledged as the rising talent in military art, Matt Hall worked for years under master visionary, Steven Spielberg, at Spielberg’s DreamWorks company! These days, however, Matt no longer paints to serve the icons of Hollywood—he paints to pay tribute to America’s military heroes.
Matt’s artistic training began as a boy in Missouri, when he met an old-time western artist named Bob Tommy, who just moved from Texas. Tommy encouraged Matt to try his hand at painting. When Tommy saw Matt’s “natural talent,” he became Matt’s mentor and taught him the technique he had amassed in his lifetime of work.
In college, Matt studied painting. After graduation, he broadened his skills, painting everything from greeting cards to animation backgrounds. His career changed forever when Spielberg’s DreamWorks company found and hired him. Matt brought and his new bride, Michele, a Texas small-town girl, with him to Hollywood.
At DreamWorks, Matt rose through the ranks, painting concept art. When Steven Spielberg had an idea brewing about the Battle for Iwo Jima, Matt painted an “epic concept” for him that Spielberg used to pitch the film, Flags of Our Fathers. Soon, Matt was named Franchise Art Director for DreamWorks’ Medal of Honor video games series, one credited with generating interest in WWII history among young people.
Matt grew as an artist through Spielberg’s critiques. “I learned from Steven Spielberg the value of listening to my ‘creative instincts’” Matt explained. “A lot of times, marketing dictates if an idea will be well-received, but Spielberg would often fly against the grain, if he believed in an idea. There was a time when the marketing guys said ‘WWII is done and dead,” but Spielberg followed his instincts and passion and made Saving Private Ryan!”
There, Matt discovered that he, too, possessed a passion to tell the stories of America’s war heroes when DreamWorks had him create paintings for the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Working from just a citation and a portrait of a long-deceased MOH recipient, Matt brought their stories back to life. There, he discovered his calling.
Then, in summer 2008, Matt underwent brain surgery to remove a growth behind his eye. “It was a wake-up call,” Matt explained. “It got me thinking, ‘What kind of legacy will my art leave? Will it tell a story of something important? Will it be something people will appreciate 50 or 100 years from now? It was tough to look in mirror and say ‘maybe not’ since the art I was doing would be locked away in a vault once it served its purpose.”
After Matt’s surgery, Valor Studios, a prominent publisher of military art came to Matt with an offer to publish him. Valor Studios had seen Matt’s work for DreamWorks and asked if he wanted to paint full time to honor the heroes of military past and present? Matt heartily agreed. “It was an epiphany on a lot of levels,“ he explained, “Spiritually, artistically, and career-wise. Like that leap of faith when I went to paint for Hollywood, I’ve now decided to follow my passion and paint the stories of men and women whose legacies need to be preserved.”
WHY BUY FROM VALOR STUDIOS?
Autographed art and collectibles from Valor Studios are created with the full cooperation of the veteran signers who are compensated fairly for signing each item.
Many veteran signed items on contain signatures that are deceitfully obtained. The people who do this send items to the veterans, promise that the signatures are for their personal collection, only to turn around and sell them on .
As the veterans have caught on to this practice and increasingly refuse to sign such items, we have seen more and more forgeries appear on , especially Dick Winters signed items.
Know that when buying from Valor Studios, you are purchasing an authentic hand signed collectible crafted by a company that has become the industry leader for signed military history products.
DO YOU CARRY OTHER ARTISTS?
We have published prints with John D. Shaw, Gil Cohen, William S. Phillips, Dan Zoernig, Ron Stark, and have sold countless prints from Robert Taylor, Robert Bailey, Nicolas Trudgian, and James Dietz! For other, stunning military artwork, just ask!