Nose art tradition continues at Niagara

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Andrew Caya
  • 914th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

A 914th Air Refueling Wing aircraft unveiled an aesthetic upgrade here, Feb. 9, 2024. Tail 0038 is the latest aircraft in Niagara’s inventory to sport nose art, specifically, the National Hockey League Buffalo Sabres logo.

“(Although) I’m not originally from Western New York, I love the Sabres, I love hockey…it’s special to have this logo on the plane,” said Tech Sgt. Arthur Thompson, Tail 0038 crew chief.

Adorning the nose section of an aircraft with a name or an image has been a tradition in the U.S. military for about a century. 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.

While it’s not the traditional nose art, it’s still representative of the Western New York community.

“As an organization, the Buffalo Sabres are profoundly honored and humbled to have our logo displayed on a military aircraft," said Sabres General Manager Kevyn Adams. "The fact that members of the crew, who serve with unwavering dedication, are avid Sabres fans makes this collaboration particularly special.”

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 process of approvals or keep it on the aircraft indefinitely.

“Choosing the Sabres logo speaks volumes about the connection and pride shared between our team and those who selflessly serve. It is a testament to the enduring spirit of our community, and we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the crew for choosing our logo as a symbol of strength and unity,” said Adams.

That enduring community spirit is on full display through the nose art when the airmen and tankers are tasked with whatever is asked of them.

“It looks great, (and) whenever we go TDY people walk up and know where you’re from and they’ll talk to you about the (nose art),” said Thompson. “We take pride in it and it’s definitely something unique to this unit. I’ve worked with units that don’t have nose art, so having aircraft that has something unique about it is pretty special.”