The date: May 31, Memorial Day 1999. Lt. Col. Dave "Fingers" Goldfein checked in as mission commander and forward air controller (FAC) for the three hour Kosovo Engagement Zone (KEZ) period. The target, Serbian fielded forces on the move in southern Kosovo in the Mount Pastrik area. Words passed through airborne command and control were to stop the ground offensive taking place in the villages below. The Kosovo Liberation Army had launched an attack on Serbian forces that had turned ugly and they were in full retreat to the hills to the south. The objective - stop the Serbs and cover the KLA.
Immediately, a plan to maximize offensive firepower was put into action. The second set of FACs, led by Capt. "Boomer" Ross from the 510th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron (EFS), headed to the tanker so they could rotate in and keep the iron flowing. The F-16CJ force protection SEAD assests from the 23rd EFS at Spangdahlem, with their load of high-speed anti-radiation (HARM) missiles, repositioned their orbit in order to provide complete coverage of the target area. Fighters checked in, ready for guidance from the FAC. Verifying the location of the enemy with his maps of the area and looking in his infrared target pod, "Fingers" rolled in for the first mark with his willie pete white phosphorous rockets. Bracketing the area below, the first set of fighters, F-16s from Aviano AB, saw the marks and set up for their attack. For the next several hours and into the night, fighter after fighter checked in and was sequenced into the target. It was a good day to be a NATO airman and a bad day to be a Serbian ground troop.
Robert Taylor's powerful painting shows F-16s from the 31st (nearest) and 52nd Air Expeditionary Wings, as they climb out of Aviano air base in northern Italy, headed for southern Kosovo. Carefully researched during visits to Aviano, and with the advantage of first hand advice from its operational F-16 pilots, Robert has produced a magnificent study of what many believe to be the most beautiful of all modern combat jet fighters. VIPER VENOM is destined to become a popular best seller among international aviation art collectors.
Lt. Colonel Mike Boera
Mike 'Boe' Boera transitioned to the F-16 in 1988 and was assigned to the 496th Tactical Fighter Squadron (TFS) and then the 10th TFS at Hahn AB, Germany. He deployed with the 10th TFS in support of Operation Desert Shield and then Desert Storm in 1991 flying 44 combat sorties during the Persian Gulf War. Afterwards, Boe was a flight commander and instructor pilot with the 311th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB. After a staff tour and attendance at the Army's Command and General Staff Officer School, he was Operations Officer for the 'Big 22' Fighter Squadron before commanding the 23rd 'Fightin` Hawks' flying the F-16CJ 'Viper Weasel' at Spangdahlem AB, Germany.
Their mission encompassed force protection; to detect, attack, and suppress the enemy SAM (surface-to-surface missiles) air defense sites as well as provide air-to-air coverage for strike packages. While at Spangdahlem, Boe led contingency deployments in support of operations: Provide comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, and Deliberate Forge. Additionally, Boe led the 23rd Expeditionary Fighter Squadron during combat operations in Operation Allied Force, March to June 1999. He flew 30 combat sorties during the Balkan's Air War and has flown a total of 160 combat missions.
Lt. Colonel Dave L. Goldfein
'Fingers' began flying the F-16 in 1987 at Shaw AFB, South Carolina as a member of the 17th TFS, the Hooters. As a flight commander, he first saw combat in the skies over Iraq in 1991, leading 40 missions during Operation Desert Storm. He next saw combat over the former Yugoslavia as the Operations Officer and then as Commander of the legendary 555 Triple Nickel Fighter Squadron. 'Fingers' led the first NATO strike package of Operation Allied Force in the versatile Block 40 Viper which was optimized for night precision attack and integration of night vision goggles.
Overall print size: 34 1/2" wide x 23 1/2" high.
Image size: 28" wide x 16" high.