The Changing Culture of the Military and Society

An Air Force public affairs article described an officer’s deployment in support of mortuary affairs at Dover, a somber and honorable duty.

The article inadvertently touched on another historical tradition of the US Air Force (or, more accurately, the US Army Air Forces).  The author published a photo of her grandfather with his A-20 Havoc in World War II:

A close up of the plane’s nose art shows a level of frankness, cultural insensitivity, political incorrectness, or whatever term you might choose to use, that was slightly more acceptable at the time and would be unthinkable today:

As a point of comparison, the American leadership apologized for the “bomb graffiti” that graced a 2000-lb bomb on the deck of the USS Enterprise in the 1998 bombing of Iraq.  (While much was written on the bomb, the phrase “Here’s a Ramadan present” was considered offensive.)

The picture shouldn’t be too surprising, however.  Use your favorite search engine to look up “nose art,” and you’ll find a great many other “interesting” pictures, many unsuitable for family viewing.

Aspects of the military culture might be considered “uncouth” by some standards.  War is ugly in virtually every respect.

Photos by USAF Capt Amber Millerchip.