READY TO ROLL
by Wade Meyers
6.75 x 14 inch, graphite on toned paper
It’s late 1944 and Captain John F. Coonan, Operations Officer of the 38th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Group, waits in his assigned CG-Y with fellow pilots in their P-51 Mustangs for the “Go!” signal from the runway flagman.
After arrival in the UK on 16 September 1943, the 55th Fighter Group received their first Lockheed P-38H Lightnings several days later. The 55th was the first VIII Fighter Command P-38 outfit to enter combat when, on 15 October, they flew a fighter sweep over the West Frisian Islands. After a time flying the newer P-38J, the group converted to the P-51 Mustang in July 1944 and went on to win two Distinguished Unit Citations for combat operations.
Capt. Coonan was a native of Portland, Oregon. He received his wings and officer’s commission in Jan. 1941. After a stint with the 26th FS in Burma he requested P-51s in the European theater. He served as Ops Officer of the 38th FS until being accidentally shot down by his element leader (Lt. Dudley Amoss) on 3 January 1945. He was captured and held at Stalag Luft I then released at the end of the war. His official wartime score is 3.5 aerial victories. Coonan stayed in the postwar Air Force and served in fighters his whole career, including combat operations in Vietnam. He retired as a Colonel in 1975.
This exquisite drawing from Wade Meyers showcases his renowned skill with this medium. His attention to detail and historically accurate portrayal sets him apart from many of his peers and makes his work highly collectable. We are delighted to be able to offer this original drawing exclusively through Merlin Aviation Art.
Please note that we can pass on the substantial reduction in postal costs for US customers. If you would like to purchase this artwork from within the US, then please contact us first to discuss the adjusted figure.