This young man is new to the squadron. Early in the war, the US had not achieved air superiority. Pilots were not allowed to carry maps that could reveal the location of their base if shot down. Eager Beaver is noting the heading and distance to the target by writing in the palm of his hand, knowing the sweat of combat would erase the notes. WWII fighter pilots navigated across land and sea using no more than a compass and clock, a method called “Dead Reckoning”. This involved holding a precise magnetic heading for hours while flying across the water.
The photos below show the original EAGER BEAVER as it was completed in clay. The next step in the process required taking a mold from the clay. That process was done immediately following these photos, destroying the original clay. Now the sculpture exists as part of the completed monument in bronze.