LT Larry “Music” Muczynski and LTJG Jim “Amos” Anderson had flown together just over a year when they left on the USS NImitz cruise August, 1981. Arriving in the Mediterranean, the Nimitz evenutally located in the Gulf of Sidra for a live missle shoot scheduled to take place on August 18th and 19th.
On the second day of the two-day Sixth Fleet exercise, CDR Hank Kleeman, CO of VF-41 Black Aces, with his R.I.O. LT Dave Venlet along with LT Muczynski and his R.I.O. LTJG Anderson were patrolling at 20,000 feet in their F-14 Tomcats Fast Eagle 102 and Fast Eagle 107 when Anderson picked up a pair of aircraft on radar near Libyan shores. Once the furball had concluded two Libyan Su-22 Fitters were engaged and downed.
Because of his close proximity, LT Muczynski realized FOD may be his downfall, he immediately performed a 6 “G” pull up clearing the debris from the downed Fitter and rolling to confirm their hit. TOMCATS 2-FITTERS 0 depicts this instant. Anderson, Kleeman, Muczynski and Venlet were victorious in the first air-to-air encounter in which all aircraft were variable geometric wing planes. With the entire incident taking only 45 seconds, both pilots and R.I.O.s stated they felt completly competant and equipped to do the job for which they were rained.
Before beginning the painting, artist Jerry Crandall met with and personally interviewed both pilot Muczynski and R.I.O. Anderson. While numerous accounts have been pubished on this incident, personal contact was necessary and proved invaluable during the creation of this painting. Constant contact was maintained between the three, with the final result heartily approved as “…that’s the way it looked! A moment of history has been captured in a painting!”
In addition to the artist’s signature, ach print is co-autographed by Larry Muczynski and Jim Anderson.
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