Of all the aircraft at the Grand Junction Airshow, this was probably my favorite.
Entering service during World War II and quickly gaining a reputation as a fearsome fighter, the Corsair is legendary in naval aviation. It achieved an 11 to 1 kill ratio against the Japanese, the highest of any fighter during the war. Production continued into the 1950s and it saw action again in the Korean War.
You may remember the plane from the 1970s TV show, “Black Sheep Squadron,” and more recently, the 2022 movie, “Devotion.” This particular plane is owned by the Erickson Aircraft Collection and has been painted in honor of Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, the first African American naval aviator killed during the Korean War and the subject of “Devotion.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, you should. It is an amazing story of what Brown overcame to become an aviator and that of his wingman, Captain Thomas J. Hudner Jr., who purposefully crashed his own plane in a valiant effort to try to save Brown. Taking a cue from some other photographers, I gave the images an ‘old time’ black and white treatment, fitting for images from the period in which the Corsair served in combat.