It was January 19, 1972 aboard the USS Constellation in the Gulf of Tonkin. As Cunningham shut down the engines of his 'Fighting Falcons' F-4J Phantom, Task Force 77 Commander Admiral Cooper congratulated Cunningham and Driscoll on achieving their first of five air victories They went on to become the US Navy's only Aces of the Vietnam war. Cunningham's three-ship F-4J section was tasked to intercept any MiGs that threatened a reconnaissance mission to the North Vietnamese airfield at Quang Lang, suspected of basing MiG-21s.
Coming under severe fire from AAA and SAMs, Cunningham dodged two missiles, plunging downward from15,000 ft in the process. Spotting two Bai Thiong-based MiG-21s below, he tracked them just above the jungle tops, closing to within range of his heat-seeking Sidewinder.
The MiG pilot broke hard, throwing off the missile, and Cunningham immediately gave his attention to the second enemy fighter. Firing a second Sidewinder, the missile scored a direct hit, blasting off the entire tail section of the MiGsending it crashing straight into the ground in a ball of fire.
Artist Robert Taylor's spectacular painting shows Cunningham's F-4J Phantom, feet above the murky waters of the Gulf of Tonkin, passing the USS Constellation at 500 knots. The mighty carrier was running out of water in the small Gulf as Cunningham called up the Air Boss requesting the traditional victory roll. "Negative, land immediately." was the terse reply. The mood aboard however was one of celebration for the crew of VF-96's Phantom call-sign "Showtime 112."
Robert Taylor’s incredibly powerful painting depicts Cunningham’s returning F-4 Phantom – call sign "Showtime 112" – screaming past the carrier at 500 knots just feet above the murky waters of the Gulf of Tonkin and has become one of the most popular portraits of the Phantom in Taylor's extensive portfolio.
Regular Edition: Overall Print Size: 34 1/4" wide x 23 1/2" high
Giclee Canvas Edition: Stretched Canvas Size: 38” wide x 22” high
THE LIMITED EDITION - 800 Prints, $320 USD
THE 50 SIGNATURE EDITION - only 50 prints, $595 USD
THE STUDIO PROOF - GICLEE ON CANVAS - 75 Prints, $795 USD
Printed onto fine canvas under the supervision of the artist, each of these carefully crafted Giclée Studio Proofs are fully authorised and signed by Robert Taylor. Exclusively limited, each canvas is stamped on the back, hand-numbered and issued with a Certificate of Authenticity. Each canvas is released pre-stretched and ready to simply drop into a frame of your choice.