Wings of Valor Kickstarter Project...

Last fall I had the opportunity to contribute photographically to the Wings of Valor book project.  It is an homage to the still-living men who downed at least five enemy aircraft during World War II…otherwise known as "aces."  My assignment was to create portraits of two men in Georgia and South Carolina…Commander Leroy Robinson, and Commander Robert Maxwell.  

Commander Robinson was the day's first subject, and we photographed him in Tignall, Georgia.  He still lives in a farm house that was built shortly before the Civil War…yes that Civil War.  In failing health he nonetheless bravely rose to the challenge of being photographed.  His son mentioned that since he was an airline Captain for so long, "he is used to having his way," so we complied with his unspoken request to be photographed with his memorabilia…as if we would have done it any other way!  A true sport, I wish we could have stayed longer to hear more of his story.   

Commander Leroy Robinson sports his original G-1 flight jacket.  He flew in both WWII and Korea, and later had a 32 year career with Delta Air Lines.  Tignall, Georgia.  ©2014 John Slemp

Commander Leroy Robinson sports his original G-1 flight jacket.  He flew in both WWII and Korea, and later had a 32 year career with Delta Air Lines.  Tignall, Georgia.  ©2014 John Slemp

Moving on to Columbia, South Carolina, Commander Robert Maxwell still lives in the town he returned to after the war.  There he raised a family and prospered in the insurance business.  He enthusiastically greeted us at the door upon our arrival, and was a real treat to visit with.  While noticing his memorabilia, he remarked that his wife (in the picture on his desk) wouldn't permit any of it in the house.  It was only after she passed away that it came in to his office from the garage, where it now proudly depicts his naval aviation past.

Commander Robert Maxwell flew with George H.W. Bush, and at 95 still gets around quite well.  Columbia, South Carolina.  ©2014 John Slemp

Commander Robert Maxwell flew with George H.W. Bush, and at 95 still gets around quite well.  Columbia, South Carolina.  ©2014 John Slemp

These two men are just a few of the remarkable pilots who courageously defended our country during WWII, and who fought to liberate those who had fallen under the oppressor's heel.  I would ask that you support the effort to document their history by contributing to the book's Kickstarter campaign.  Going on now, it is a worthy endeavor and should prove to be a surefire collectable book too.  Enjoy!