These paintings will be on permanent display.
Entitled “Approaching the Rabbit Hole”, the painting, commissioned by Howard Butcher in conjunction with the Vietnam Memorial Park in Seattle, depicts B-52G 2572 in Wave 1 on the night of December 26, 1972 during the ongoing Linebacker II raids. Call sign Wave 2, Pilot Howard Butcher in 2572 and his crew have just begun their final turn towards the target, better known as the “Rabbit Hole”, turning to align their cells with the other waves approaching the target which was the Thai Nguyen rail yard. Heavy damage would all but obliterate the area, with the next days recon photos showing complete destruction, and reinforcing a job well done.
Losses to SAMs occurred as the flight paths were the same every night from the same approach and at the same altitude, enabling the Viet Cong to hone in and shoot down many B-52s with high losses of crew.
Depicted in the painting are what a typical night mission of 52s over North Vietnam would encounter. Day 8 of the continued maximum effort, which eventually would force the combatants back to the negotiating table, shows NVA SAMs launching from the ground as well as exploding at altitude, which was around 35,000 ft. 40 mm and various flak open up around the cells of B-52s, making the final run on the IP terror filled moments, as the EWO listened for the nerve racking rattlesnake sound that aporoaching SAMs make.
These missions were to play a vital role in the ending of a long and bitter Vietnam War.
24″x30″, oil on linen.