George W. Rarey, 379th FS, 362nd FG, 9th AAF in front of his P-47 "Damon's Demon", photographed close to date of his death in June 1944.
The unit insignia for the 379th Fighter Squadron was the "Rarey Bird," named after George Rarey, the artist/P-47 pilot from the 362nd/379th who drew the critter - a scraggly parrot usually portrayed with a cigar in its mouth and a gun in its claw while perched on a skull. This is an image of the Rarey Bird from the leather squadron patch of P-47 armorer Sebastian Ramaci.
Watercolour(?) by George Rarey, of his airplane, P-47D Thunderbolt "Damon's Demon". Artwork on airplane was desgned and painted by Rarey himself.
From Andy Anderson, "Blood, Sweat and Tears:"
Capt. George W. Rarey of Enid, Oklahoma and Washington, D.C., who came to the 379th in Bradley Field, Connecticut, as a lieutenant and an original flight leader, was one of the most talented guys I had ever met. There was also no question that he was one of the best liked men of the squadron among enlisted men and officers alike. He had an enormous talent for art and maintained an extensive collection of drawings of fellow pilots which were remarkably accurate. He was also an accomplished caricaturist and cartoonist with a fertile imagination and mind. A pilot would tell Capt. Rarey something about himself, his likes, his interests, his dreams, and Capt. Rarey would come up with an insignia and nickname for him fitting him to a "T." Then he would transfer it in a painting on the nose of the pilot's P-47. Of all the aircraft art I witnessed, and I witnessed a lot, the work created by Capt. Rarey for the 379th Fighter Squadron was the most clever and professionally done. His own P-47 was named "Damon's Demon" and featured a caricature of a chubby bird of some unknown breed (lovingly called a "Rarey bird" by his fellow pilots) sitting atop an 8-ball, smoking a pipe in his very large bill, and holding a dripping paintbrush. The bird's one visible eye pointed skyward like he was thinking some evil thought.
George W. Rarey, P-47 Thunderbolt pilot, USAAF, photographed as a second lieutenant.
George Rarey served as a fighter pilot with the 379th Fighter Squadron of the 362nd Fighter Group. He was a popular pilot who painted nose art on up to 30 different aircraft of the squadron. On 27 June 1944, he was Killed in Action when flak exploded near his aircraft.
He is buried in Normandy American Cemetery. He left behind his wife Betty Lou and son Damon, who he never got the chance to meet. His son, Damon, later published a book full of his father’s wartime sketches and cartoons entitled “Laughter and Tears.”
His life story can be read here: http://abmc.nomadmobileguides.com/Normandy.php?page=narrative&id=cont-2404
There is a memorial dedication to him where he died at Villers- Bocage, France.
Units served with
The Group trained in P-47s and moved to England in November 1943. Arriving earlier than many other Ninth Air Force fighter groups, the pilots main occupation was escort work for heavy bombers. The Group's first mission on 8 February 1944 was one...
Personal aircraft of George "Dad" Rarey, 379th Squadron's main nose art artist until his death (KIA in another aircraft, P-47 42-75042).
Aircraft was lost in a collision on June 17th, 1944 while being flown by Lt. Richard Gordon.
Military site : airfield
Built as an RAF Advanced Landing Ground (ALG), work on the airfield began in early 1943. It was improved and made ready for USAAF use by adding more aircraft standings and temporary buildings. Accommodation was provided in the form of tents and...
|Entered service from
||New York, USA
Exact date not yet known
||14310 Villers-Bocage, France
||27 June 1944
Plot F Row 14 Grave 25