Leo Gray, P-51C, “Little Florence”

This will be our fifth and our last Tuskegee Airmen print because of their age. I do appreciate the opportunity to have worked with such great Americans.

Print size is 15×24″ These prints were not numbered.

Buy Now With Credit Cards

Price $65.00          Postage $6.00

Lieutenant Colonel Leo R. Gray

Leo Gray was born on May 3, 192 in Boston, Massachusetts. His parents were Leo Warren and Ralphia Mitchell Gray. His father was employed with a major grocery chain where he worked in the candy department. He graduated from Boston English High School in the spring of 1942. Leo decided to enlist into the Air Corps and took his first tests in November 1942 and was accepted in May 1943. He first trained at Kessler Field, Biloxi, Mississippi. After his training he was transferred to the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama where he graduated as a Second Lieutenant on August 4, 1944.

Leo was sent to Italy where he was assigned to the 100nd Fighter Squadron, 332nd Fighter Group. By this time the Red Tail Mustangs of the 332nd Fighter Group had earned a solid reputation for being dependable as bomber escorts and for being tenacious in battle. Leo’s silver fighter had a red nose and red wing tips. The tail, rudder and stabilizers were also painted red. Leo inherited “Little Frances” from another pilot and decided that he would not change the airplanes name. On his first mission Leo was assigned to fly wing-man for Hiram Mann. While on this mission he witnessed flak for the first time. He was flying along when a black cloud exploded on his right. He turned his head to look at the cotton-puff as he passed.

During a mission to Berlin Leo and his group saw three German Me-262 jets coming into attack the B-24’s they were escorting. Leo watched the jets come closer to the bomber formation. This would be his first aerial combat and he admitted that he was tense. His eyes were glued to the jets as they glided effortlessly towards the bombers. As the German jets came closer the squadron leader of the Tuskegee Airmen ordered the group to drop their gas tanks and attack.

In unison the whole squadron of bright silver Mustangs with bold Red Tails dropped their tanks and simultaneously banked towards the incoming jets to intercept them. It was a display of perfect military precision as all of the fighters acted as one. As the entire squadron of Mustangs turned the sun gleamed off their wings bright in the eyes of the oncoming Luftwaffe jet pilots. The pilots in the Messerschmitt jets witnessed the Mustangs intentions. The Luftwaffe commander saw that he would be challenged by the entire squadron of Red Tail Mustangs so they decided to leave and find an undefended group of bombers they could attack. The jet commander gave an order for his fellow jet pilots to pull away which they did. A show of force does work.

Being a late comer to the war Leo was only able to fly fifteen missions. For his war service he earned the Air Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster and he was also awarded a Presidential Citation. After the war he left the active Air Corps and joined the USAF reserves were he served until his retirement in 1984. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1950 at University of Massachusetts and a Master’s degree from the University of Nebraska in 1952. He then did three years of post-graduate work at the University of Maryland. His civilian career with the US Government started in 1953 as a Technical Assistant at the University of Massachusetts with the USDA, Agricultural Extension Service.

Leo’s retirement has been made even richer with the exposure the Tuskegee Airmen has received. Today there are several movies and many books complementing the Tuskegee Airmen for their fine service to the United States of America. Leo now travels to meetings all over the United States where he has met President Obama and was in a Rose Bowl Parade.

painting_P-51_Leo_Gray

This is the painting that the print was made from. Leo Gray has autographed the painting. If anyone is interested in purchasing the original painting then please contact the artist below. Painting size is large, two by four feet. Price: $3,000.00, plus shipping. This would look very nice in your office or at your home. Hang History on your wall. Thank you.

photo_LGray_6-17-14b_web

Here is the artist and Leo Gray in Orlando June 2014.

The painting of Leo’s Mustang is in the middle bottom under the P-51D.

The painting of the P-51D above Leo’s is Roscoe Brown’s. The painting has been autographed by Roscoe.

The top right P-51D has been autographed by Hiram Mann. All of these painting were used to publish the prints of the Tuskegee Airmen that I have worked with. I also have the painting of Lee Archer’s P-51C as well.

The bottom right P-51D Mustang has been autographed by Chuck Yeager. All Paintings are for sale.