Nose Art for 914th Flagship has Irish connection

  • Published
  • By Peter Borys
  • 914 ARW

Adorning the nose section of an aircraft with a name or an image has been a tradition in the U.S. military for years. Aircraft nose art has been around for almost as long as aircraft itself.

U.S. flyers made the idea famous, but it was first used on a larger scale by Italian and German pilots, just before World War I. During that time, nose art and squadron insignia often became one and the same.
The flagship of the 914th Air Refueling Wing aircraft 8044 flown by wing commander, Col. Lara Morrison received a unique design for its nose art. Named the Fuel Banshee created by Master Sgt. Anthony Battaglia, the aircraft dedicated crew chief.

The Banshee is said to be a fairy in Irish legend and her scream is believed to be an omen of death. The scream is also a warning that there will be an imminent death in the family and as Irish families blended over time, it is said that each family has its own Banshee. According to Battaglia, the sound of tanker engines is similar to the scream of the Banshee.

Tech. Sgt. Alexander Coppola, 914 ARW KC-135 dedicated crew chief for aircraft 1472, said the dedicated crew chiefs of each plane have some liberty to choose the nose art they want for their aircraft. He and assistant crew chief Senior Airman Dylan Creasey chose the Buffalo Bills logo for their design.

“Everybody in the community loves the Buffalo Bills and the Bills love us. They always show us support. So, we figured we would show some support for them. That’s why we named it the heart of the city,” explained Coppola.

Aircraft 1472 was the first aircraft in the 914 ARW tanker inventory to a have nose art decal applied onto their planes since the unit mission changed from flying C-130s to KC-135s at Niagara in 2017.

The nose art will remain on the aircraft as long as the dedicated crew chief is assigned to that aircraft. If a new dedicated crew chief takes over they could decide to change it and go through the long process of approvals or keep it on the aircraft indefinitely.

More nose art designs for the remaining aircraft are pending approvals.