A Portrait and a Mystery

mystery painting
Portrait of an Eighth Air Force Flight Officer donated by Kim Iocovozzi. A local businessman and avid art collector, Mr. Iocovozzi had the painting restored and framed prior to donating it in memory of his father, George Iocovozzi. 

A donation to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force comes with a mystery.  It is an oil on canvas portrait of an unidentified Eighth Air Force navigator.   Dressed in his World War II uniform, he stands with arms folded so that his 8th Air Force shoulder patch together with his medals and navigator wings are clearly visible. Behind him is a map showing England, France and Germany to remind all who view his portrait that the 8th Air Force stationed in England flew B-17s and B-24s in a strategic bombing campaign to destroy Nazi Germany’s ability to wage war.
mystery painting closeup 2
The two Overseas Service Bars on his left sleeve denote twelve months service overseas in a combat theater. His navigator wings reveal his duties on bombing missions. His Air Medal with two Oak Leaf clusters shows that he completed 15 combat missions, and his Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf cluster reveals that he was wounded twice in combat. His European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two service stars denotes that he fought in three campaigns.  His rank is that of Flight Officer.
mystery painting closeup
The artist Norman F. Burnett (1898 – 1985) lived and exhibited his paintings in Baltimore, MD.  With an eye for detail, he worked as a portraitist and an art restorer. In 1933 he began teaching at Baltimore City College, adding summer classes at the University of Maryland.  In 1945 he started this portrait of an unnamed Flight Officer but did not complete it until 1947. This is revealed by both dates under the artist’s signature. One wonders if this Flight Officer also lived in Baltimore, MD. Contact the Research Center at the Mighty Eighth if you can help us solve this mystery  
Written by Dr. Vivian Rogers-Price for the June 2016 newsletter of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force