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Steve "The Greek" Pisanos came to America from Athens, Greece as a young man who could not speak English. His lifelong dream of becoming a pilot could only be realized in America, he figured, and he worked as a pantry boy in Plainfield, New Jersey while practicing his English and spending most of his money on flying lessons at the local airport.
With the outbreak of war, Steve found his way into one of the flight schools operated in America by the Royal Air Force, which was desperate for young men like Pisanos to fill their cockpits. Graduating as a fighter pilot, Steve went to England and eventually joined 71 'Eagle' Squadron, one of three units composed entirely of American pilot volunteers. In time, the three Eagle Squadrons were absorbed into the new US 8th Air Force and constituted as the 4th Fighter Group. The 4th enjoyed tremendous success in World War II, and later went on to blaze a further trail of glory in Korea. Today the 4th Fighter Wing as one of America's premier Air Force units flies F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB in North Carolina.
In my painting, it's the Fall of 1942 and brand-new US officer 2Lt. Pisanos is up at altitude on an air test in his Spitfire Vb with it's new US stars in place of the painted-out British roundels. He's spotted a few of his mates in the distance joining up to go home after some playful mock dogfighting as evidenced by the contrails in the sky. It appears that the practice dogfight session is not over ...
January 17th, 2013
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