Rising to the Storm
Artist: William S. Phillips
Location: Special Collections Doolittle Corner

This 4-by-6 foot original oil on board painting features a dynamic rendering of the famous Doolittle Raid on Japan during the early stages of World War II in 1942. It overlooks the desk, chair, bookshelves and awards James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle gave to The University of Texas at Dallas McDermott Library upon his death in 1993. The area is known as the "Doolittle Corner." The painting was donated by William Caswell Ward of Austin, Texas in March 2009.

Phillips, a native of Los Angeles, began painting World War II aircraft when he was in the U.S. Air Force. "Aviation was my first artistic love," he said. After his discharge he majored in law at Oregon Southern University while working as a student firefighter. He became a wildland firefighter while continuing to hone his painting skills.

When four of his World War II aircraft paintings displayed in a restaurant were sold, he set aside his new law degree to concentrate on his passion as an artist. In more than 30 years in aviation art, Phillips’ portraits of military and civilian aircraft have placed him firmly at the top of his competitive field and garnered national recognition. After one of his paintings was presented to King Hussein of Jordan, Phillips was commissioned by the Royal Jordanian Air Force to produce 16 major paintings.

He also painted "Westbound: A Date with the General" showing the plane of Doolittle Crew 15 making its way to the Chinese Coast near Sangchow where the U.S. airmen began their successful escape to Chunking.

In 1986 he held a one-man show at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. In 1988 he was chosen to be a U.S. Navy combat artist and was presented the Navy’s Meritorious Public Service Award and the Air Force Sergeants Association’s Americanism Medal. He resides in Ashland, Ore.

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