Many modellers of P-47's will be familiar with the "Rarey Bird" noseart featured on Thunderbolts of the 379th FS 362nd FG, but the cowling paintings are just the tip of the Rarey iceberg.
Hailing from Enid Oklahoma, George Rarey was an extremely talented artist who before being drafted in 1942 had worked as a cartoonist and a commercial artist.
"Dad" Rarey never stopped drawing, and his sketch books showed the story of the 362nd FG's passage overseas into the ETO.
Rareys son Damon was born on March 18th 1944 and George named his P-47 "Damons Demon" in honour of his firstborn.
Father and son were destined never to meet as fate dealt a cruel blow when George Rarey was killed in a low level strafing mission on June 26th 1944.
In 1996 Damon Rareys book "Laughter And Tears" was published.
Combining extracts from his fathers sketchbooks with letters home,(including highly decorated envelopes), and recollections from 362ndFG veterans and George Rareys widow, Laughter and Tears tells Rareys story in the pictures and sketches he loved so much.
This beautifull leather bound book was only printed once, and if you are fortunate enough to have opportunity to purchase one I can't recommend it highly enough.
Sadly, Damon Rarey passed away in 2002.
George Rarey with Damons Demon in the background
Baby Damon with his mother Betty Lou.
Some of the George Rarey sketches.
Finally, some examples of George Rareys artwork adorning the cowlings of 379th FS Thunderbolts