Air Force History You Wouldn’t See Today
Update: A WWII pilot’s family reports on finding the nose art from their grandfather’s plane… in the risqué section of the museum.
The Commemorative Air Force has loaned a collection of nose art saved from to-be-scrapped B-17s and B-24s to the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, for display for at least the next year.
The collection of 34 pieces of “nose art”…is the largest of its kind…
The double-entendres, bravado and pride reflected in the nose art speak to the intimate bond the crews had with their planes. Young men, some not even in their 20s, put their lives into those aircraft, climbing 25,000 feet over enemy territory, sometimes on daylight missions or over “The Hump” of the Himalayas.
It’s a veteran-based art show that tells a story.
As has been noted on this topic before, much of the artwork — some of which the museum segregated because it was so risque — wouldn’t pass muster in today’s Air Force. To some extent, that’s a good thing.
Still, the near-total ban (there are rare exceptions) on Air Force nose art does seem a disappointing rejection of what has become a significant part of US Air Force heritage.