Paintings Robert H Laessig Floral Artist Painter

Taken from The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine Aug. 8, 1965

Nandi Air Base
After Pearl Harbor it was necessary to develop Fiji as an air base.  The Fijis were strategically situated.  Fijis are tropical islands fringed by coral reefs.The war that began at Pearl Harbor and officially ended by the signing of the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship Missouri on Sept. 2, 1945 was by no stretch of the imagination a lovely war.

Staff Sgt. Robert H. Laessig,an Air Force artist was assigned to paint the war rather than fight and he showed a magnificent pictorial side.

In the early part of 1943 Robert was removed from his duties as an armorer with the 13th Air Force fighter sqaudron, to serve with the Historical Section. He was to be “the Currier and Ives of the 13th Air force”. His job was to record every episode in the activities of its units in the South and Southwest Pacific, from Fiji to the Philippine Islands.

“Snoopers” in the “Slot” Reduction of Rabaul from Munda Meant trouble.  Meant Japanese reinforcements were coming down.The 95 paintings that Robert produced in the 2 years until the end of the war are now in the Air Force Art Collection in the Pentagon. They have been shown throughout the country,and as the years pass they become more remarkable and interesting. The war paintings were shown at American Greetings Corp. where Robert was employed and exhibited again in the company’s Pan Am Gallery in New York.

Sack Time by Robert Laessig
Sack Time
A marked decrease in the efficiency of men who had been in the tropics for more than 18 months was caused by strain of combat and climate.
Numea Roofs by Robert Laessig
Numea Roofs
Formative Stage at New Caledonia. View from local Catholic Church. There are primitive constructions of wood, and shacks of tin, in the town and on the outskirts
Palawan by Robert Laessig
Assault from the Philippines. 5th largest to the west of the Philippine Islands
Port Melbourne by Robert Laessig
Port Melbourne
Australia stood in grave danger. Japanese made it clear that they planned to cut the American supply line to Australia.
Bougainville Beach by Robert Laessig
Bougainville Beach
Strafing & Fighter Cover from Bougainville. Swimming was generally available to all. If a camp was not set up near a beach a 6 x 6 truck took the men who had time to the nearest beach. Not all units lived by sandy beaches and many islands were coral fringed.
Foxhole Time by Robert Laessig
Foxhole Time
Motorai was raided more frequently than any other base in the Southwest Pacific. Very deep foxholes were dug and covered by logs, sandbags and if lucky some corrugated piece of tin. When signal sounded men rushed to their foxholes in various stages of attire.
Air Sea Rescue by Robert Laessig
Air Sea Rescue
Attack from Morotai and counter attack. It was the function of PBY rescue ships to be on the alert for the yellow speck below. After anxious hours, days and sometimes weeks, a PBY would dip its wings, circle and land. When fliers had been brought into the rescue plane, a medical corpsman administered first aid and they were rushed back to base.
St. Paul's Cathedral by Robert Laessig
St. Paul’s Cathedral
Melbourne. A familiar landmark in the heart of the city.
Cheverells by Robert Laessig
Officers’ Club in Sydney, Australia
Rations by Robert Laessig
Camp about to be broken in preparation for move to Palawan. 10 in 1 rations = Feed 1 man 10 days or feed 10 men 1 day.
United States Air Force Art Collection
For more information on Robert H Laessig's Air Force paintings,
please see The United Stated Air Force Art Collection website.

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