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P-47D Thunderbolt

by Rock Roszak


Republic P-47D Thunderbolt


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I am the alumni director for the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets, one of the six senior military colleges in the United States. I draw accurately researched military aircraft depicting specific planes flown by our alumni through the years, and each usually has an interesting story to go with it. These prints are displayed in a cadet dormitory on the campus of Virginia Tech (also known as Virginia Polytechnic Institute, or VPI).

One of our most interesting subjects is this P-47D flown by 1/LT W. Ellis Frankfort who had been enrolled at Virginia Tech in the class of 1944. He left school early as so many of his countrymen did and joined the service during World War II. He flew the Thunderbolt in the southwest Pacific as a member of the 348th FG in New Guinea. He was credited with two kills and was last seen chasing a Japanese aircraft into the clouds on May 27th, 1944. He did not return to his home base and search and rescue did not find any sign of Lt. Frankfort or his aircraft.

50 years later, his wreckage was found on Biak Island and in late September, 1994 a recovery team excavated the crash site and recovered Lt. Frankfort's remains, which were returned to the United States and buried with full military honors. Two years later, his Virginia Tech class ring was recovered in the jungle and also sent back to family members. His ring is now proudly displayed in the VPI Corps of Cadets Museum in Blacksburg, VA.

The digital painting was done in Adobe Illustrator. The markings were determined from the History of the 348th Fighter Squadron book and the official report of the crash excavation.

Images and Text Copyright 2006 by Rock Rozsac
Page Created 21 March, 2006
Last Updated 23 March, 2006

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