The Curtiss P-40 Warhawk was an all metal, single-engine, single-seat fighter and ground-attack aircraft that made its maiden flight in 1938. Since the P-40 was a modified P-36 Hawk it was developed quickly and entered service in record time. The USAAF referred to the aircraft as the Warhawk while the British Commonwealth and the Soviet Union called the B and C variants Tomahawk while the D and later variants were called Kittyhawk. By the end of production in 1944 approximately 18,000 aircraft were manufactured.
On December 7, 1941 during the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor 2nd Lt. George Welch and 2nd Lt. Kenneth Taylor raced back to the airfield and managed to get their P-40s airborne against overwhelming odds. The P-40s were armed only with 30 calibre wing guns and when that ran out they returned to refuel and rearm with 50 calibre ammunition and renewed their airborne efforts. 2nd Lt. Welch scored 4 victories while 2nd Lt. Taylor scored at least 2 victories. They both received the DSC.