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When the 389th Fighter Squadron arrived at the 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing, not one of their F-15E Strike Eagles were displaying nose art. However, with the work of one Airman, this has changed to ensure the aircrew will return home with designs on their noses and stronger bonds between them.
“Nose Art dates well into World War I and became more embellished in World War II to help bring the warfighters a taste of home, a memory, place, significant other, or motto,” said Lt. Col. James, 389th Fighter Squadron commander.
With a passion for art and design, an airman in the fighter squadron took the lead to create and transform the nose art for the squadron.
“In my past, I worked as a graphic designer,” said Senior Airman Conner, 389th Fighter Squadron dedicated crew chief. “I took the lead to make a digital design so that we could get them printed.”
Nose art allows the aircrew to make the aircraft their own by working together to come up with a name and design idea.
“The crew chief would come to me with an idea or a picture they found online, then I would go into Adobe InDesign and create a graphic,” said Conner. “The crew chief of each aircraft was a big part of the process by giving their input and helping me create what they want.”
From there the design was taken to a vinyl printer and prepared to put on the aircraft, right next to its name.
“It boosts morale because the designs were a collaboration of aircrew and maintainers,” said James. “They give the jets a name and you feel attached to the jet you named with your crew chiefs.”
Something as simple as a name and graphic on an aircraft can increase the pride amongst those who work on and fly on them.
“It feels good to know that something that I worked on is flying in the sky and getting to see the final product in action,” said Conner. “Knowing that so many people are going to see it and take photos of it feels really cool.”
As these jets travel the world, the designs on their noses will carry a legacy lasting further than the time they spend at the 332nd AEW.
“I’ve flown theses jets across the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean several times,” said James. “It’s an awesome feeling when you get your name painted on the side for the first time. That same feeling exists when you’re able to design something cool that you can display as a piece of pride.”