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Brute Force: B-52 Nose Art from DESERT STORM

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Express Delivery" nose art from a Boeing B-52G on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Express Delivery" nose art from a Boeing B-52G on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Lets Make a Deal" nose art from a Boeing B-52G that flew in Operation Desert Storm is on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Lets Make a Deal" nose art from a Boeing B-52G that flew in Operation Desert Storm is on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Yankee Doodle II" nose art from a Boeing B-52G on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio -- "Yankee Doodle II" nose art from a Boeing B-52G on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Nose art from B-52s on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

DAYTON, Ohio - Nose art from B-52s on display in the Cold War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Almost from the beginning of flight, pilots and aircrews have personalized their aircraft by adorning them with nicknames, symbols or artwork. During World War II, the widespread practice of adding "pin-up girls," cartoons and other popular culture images to an aircraft's nose led to the term "nose art." Except for the wars in Korea and Southeast Asia, the practice tapered off, but in the 1980s, the use of nose art once again became common. Often respectfully copying World War II nose art, other Airmen chose nose art that reflected the popular cartoons of their time. The world saw this next generation of nose art during OPERATION DESERT STORM in 1991.

In the late 1980s, the U.S. Air Force began retiring its Boeing B-52G Stratofortresses to the Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) aircraft storage area at Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz. DESERT STORM delayed the retirement, but the last B-52G went to AMARC in 1994. As part of strategic arms limitation agreements, these aircraft were eventually destroyed, but the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force saved some of the nose art applied during DESERT STORM.

Ace in the Hole - B-52G (57-6498), 416th Bomb Wing

Brute Force - B-52G (58-0243), 93rd Bomb Wing

Damage Inc. - B-52G (58-0254), 93rd Bomb Wing

Express Delivery - B-52G (57-6489), 320th and 43rd Bomb Wings

Grim Reaper II - B-52G (59-2582), 2nd Bomb Wing [Flying a 14,000-mile, 35-hour round-trip mission from Barksdale AFB, La., to Saudi Arabia, this aircraft launched AGM-86C Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (CALCM) during the initial attacks of OPERATION DESERT STORM.]

Lets Make a Deal - B-52G (58-0173), 379th Bomb Wing

Memphis Belle III - B-52G (59-2594), 97th Bomb Wing

Ragin' Cajun - B-52G (57-6483), 93rd and later 2nd Bomb Wing

Screamin' Eagle - B-52G (58-0250), 42nd Bomb Wing

Snake Eyes - B-52G (57-6504), 93rd Bomb Wing

Specter - B-52G (58-0199) 93rd Bomb Wing

Urban Renewal - B-52G (58-0249), 379th Bomb Wing

What's Up Doc? - B-52G (58-0182), 379th Bomb Wing

Yankee Doodle II - B-52G (59-2602), 2nd Bomb Wing

Click here to return to the Cold War Gallery.

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