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Nose Art
(Click on any thumbnail to see a larger picture. All pictures are set to open in a new window. To return here, just close the window you're in.)

Everyone's goal was to get their name on a plane. It was easier for some than others. Crewmen came and went and there were more crews than planes. If you were a pilot and the Squadron Commander, or the Operations officer, or some other "Wheel" it was a piece of cake. In fact, the most prominent plane during my time was the "Wheel" which was flown by the primary squadron "wheel" - the Squadron Commander, Col. Fortney.
"Big Chief"
"Big Chief"

Col. Fortney and "Wheel"
Col. Fortney and "Wheel"
A plane was identified on the flight line, not by its AF serial number or the name painted on its nose, but by the alphabetic letter emblazoned on the fin, and called by its phonetic alphabetic identifier. Thus plane "D" was called "Dog - not because it flew like a dog, but because that was its phonetic alphabetic designation. In theory there were sometimes more planes than letters of the alphabet, leading to planes designated !, *, "wheel" and Mc.

"Maiden USA" was Charles Bartel's hard nosed gunship Nan. Well, it was until somebody tore it up at the end of the runway in early January 1952. See Nan in the Bent Planes section." Maiden USA
"Maiden USA"

Mostly the planes were named by the pilot with sufficient status to warrant the perk. Each plane had a crew placard on the fuselage just below the pilots window. Navigators, Gunners and Flight Engineers were named on the crew placard by virtue of being crewed with the pilot. It took me five and 1/2 months of a six month tour to get my name on a plane with pilot Jim Braly, and then Braly left the wreckage of the plane scattered over the mountains of North Korean Chodo Island before I ever saw it.

"Cat Girl"
"Cat Girl"
Little Sheba"
" Sheba"

Shook Up Shark
"Shook Up Shark"
Sharks have always been a favorite theme for airplane nose art. This may not be the best we ever saw. The interesting thing about the picture is the blast suppressors on the nose guns. How about silencers for a hard nosed airplane?

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