By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
What is history? What I remember from school is history is the study of past events; events such as the War of 1812, the fall of Adolf Hitler and the dropping of the atomic bomb by the Enola Gay. History is written documentation of events, people and places most of the time from eyewitness accounts.
Being an Air Force photojournalist, it is my responsibility to document, photograph and tell the Air Force story. In this particular case, the Air Force story was living, breathing and walking right before my eyes. On this day, I was exposed to history in a brand-new way.
I had the opportunity to spend some time photographing and interviewing a 96-year-old World War II veteran, retired Maj. Louis Tornabene, at his home in Charlottesville, Virginia. Tornabene was awarded the Air Medal in 1946 for his work as a flight engineer on the top-secret Manhattan Project, but didn’t receive one at that time because of a shortage of medals. On April 29, 2015, almost 70 years later, the Air Force formally presented Tornabene the medal during a ceremony at the Hall of Heroes in the Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School at the University of Virginia.
These were some of the emotions I felt working on the Air Force public affairs team covering the Doolittle Tokyo Raiders’ Congressional Gold Medal ceremony April 18 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
My job that day was pretty straightforward — write social media posts and share imagery from the event to educate and inform the public about the significant contributions of these American heroes. When the day arrived, I was prepared to go out and perform my duties. But, I was unprepared for how awestruck I would be seeing the last two Doolittle Tokyo Raiders take their place of honor on the Wright-Patterson flightline as their Congressional Gold Medal was flown onto the base by a vintage B-25 bomber, the same aircraft used during the Doolittle Raid in 1942.
By Staff Sgt. Jarrod Chavana
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
Since the conception of war planes, Airmen have figured out ways to personalize these aircraft and make them their own. During World War I, the artwork focused on squadron pride. During World War II and beyond, these paintings became more intricate and personal. I would call some of them masterpieces because they reflect the creativity and craftsmanship of the pilots and aircrew who flew these aircraft. During World War II, some Airmen and artists would make additional money and boost morale by incorporating these murals onto the noses or bodies of aircraft.
I thought I would go through some of the Air Force’s archives and find some great examples and share them with you. I will say, some of the nose art from World War II and later could make our mothers blush.
By Ken LaRock
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
The Restoration Division at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is currently restoring a Stearman PT-13D Kaydet aircraft, a standard primary trainer flown by the U.S. and several Allied nations during the late 1930s and World War II. Plans call for this PT-13D to be part of an expanded Tuskegee Airman exhibit in the World War II Gallery to represent flight training during the war.