During the outbreak of the war, Sakai would become battle-tested over the skies of China in 1938. In 1940, he was selected to fly the Japanese Navy's latest A6M Zero Fighter and on December 8, 1941 successfully attacked the Philippines. A member of the Tainan Kokutai Air Group, this unit would eventually take top honors for the most enemy aircraft destroyed in the war. Sakai would later be seriously wounded by an SBD's tail gunner, in which he flew nearly 5 hours back to Rabaul paralyzed on one side of his body and blind in his right eye. With partial vision and after a temporary stint as a training instructor, Sakai convinced his superiors he was fit for combat duty and was re-deployed to Iwo Jima. Leading a Kamikaze attack against U.S. Naval ships, Sakai disobeyed orders and returned his unit to Iwo Jima to fight another day. Sakai was one of a handful of pilots to have survived the war from his original squadron. It is estimated that Saburo Sakai earned 64 combat victories over the Pacific - mostly flying in the Zero Fighter.
This fine art print includes an aged background designed from an actual World War II military map. A timeless design for any decor!
November 10th, 2013
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