FIGURE FOUR: LUCKY STRIKE

LuckyStrike

With a skeptical expression written on his face, Lucky Strike represents a hardened veteran of air combat listening to the briefing but not entirely “buying it”. Reports that the weather would be good, or enemy defenses would be weak had proven unreliable in the past and he now exhibits a healthy skepticism.   For this pilot, the adage that “no battle plan survives contact with the enemy” has been proven correct too many times.

The cigarette portrays the common practice of the day.  It seemed we all smoked then!

The photos below show the original LUCKY STRIKE 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.

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  1. Dad was a B-17 bomb group commander in England. He told me that on one mission he was looking at the bomber on his left when an AA round went into its bomb bay. “The aircraft simply disappeared.”

    • We think of WWII aircraft as imposing, but in truth they are lightweight structures of aluminum. Dad described a direct AA hit on a fellow P-38 pilot in his formation. Just as your Dad reported, the plane completely disappeared. From Dad’s book, Doorknob Five Two: “The flak was meant for the bombers, but stray bursts rose to our altitude and Brooks turned the squadron away and climbed to get out of range. Like a pilot fish under a shark’s snout, I slid along with Sadler keeping a constant distance from his light green belly. In the next instant his forward motion stopped. Sadler and his plane were gone, replaced by a black and orange flash. I swung my head around to look behind me. There was nothing there.”

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