13th February 1942 during the final leg of a delivery flight from the factory; four Grumman F4F-4 Wildcats encountered severe weather conditions en route to NAS San Diego. Overdue at their destination, search missions commenced the following day to locate the missing pilots. Participating in the search was North American Aviation SNJ-2 BuNo 2549; piloted by Ensign William Wallace Page and accompanied by observer Ensign Louis Massie Winn Jr; flying in a wing position of a three plane section over the southern Santa Rosa Mountains. SNJ-2 BuNo 2549 disappeared during the search in the vicinity of Rabbit Peak and it is this wreckage you see in this painting.
September 1944 the original flight leader of the search, Lt. Commander James Franklin Patterson never gave up and resumed searching by air, depicted here in a FM-2 Wildcat and accompanied in the search by a TBM-1. It would be a ruby ring belonging to Ensign William Wallace Page that was lit up in the California sunshine which grabbed Pattersons attention and the scene depicts the moment Patterson spotted the wreckage.
Following a gruelling three day hike up Rabbit Peak by Patterson, accompanied by a company of Marines, the bodies of the ensigns were recovered and returned to their families to be buried with full military honours. The wreckage of BuNo 2549 would remain atop the mountain and recovered fifty years later in the early 1990’s.
Title: Guiding Light
Print method: Giclée
Number of prints in the edition: 100
Paper size: 18.5" x 15.75"
Image size: 16.5" x 11.75"
Individually artist signed: Yes
Certificate of authenticity: Yes
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