Airborne Shark Attacks

Nose Graphic (Square)In honor of Shark Week, we’ve compiled some interesting facts about the Defense Department’s ties to sharks.  

Fact #1:

Since World War I, many countries have painted military aircraft with images of sharks and shark teeth to intimidate their enemies. This aircraft nose art, made famous by the American Volunteer Group Flying Tigers, illicit memories of a bygone military era and tell their own distinct story that has it’s place in military tradition. The Flying Tigers and their teethed aircraft still fly today–out of Moody Air Force Base, Ga., assigned to the 74th and  75th Fighter Squadrons.

Our hats are off to the intrepid crews who’ve flown these aircraft since the 1940′s. If you or someone you know has flown in one of the decorated aircraft, send us your photos at newmedia1(at)dma.mil and we could feature them on Twitter this week. Leave comments if you have more information about the history of this amazing legacy.

Here are the captions for today’s photos starting from top left:

U.S. Air Force Capt. Richard Olson, assigned to 74th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot, gets off an A-10 Warthog after his flight at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, Sept. 2, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Corey Hook/Released)

Landing wheels recede as this U.S. Army Air Forces Liberator bomber crosses the shark-nosed bows of U.S. P-40 fighter planes as an American soldier waves good luck to the crew at an advanced U.S. base in China, 1943.

A view of the front underside of an F-14 Tomcat aircraft with a shark’s teeth paint scheme to symbolize Carrier Air Wing 15. (U.S. Air Force photo by TSgt Bob Marshall/Released)

An airman the 23rd Equipment Maintenance Squadron corrosion control section removes masking from a 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft after painting it with fresh “shark’s teeth.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jimmy R. Sweatt/Release)

 

 

 

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  • Norman Messenger

    To paraphrase Crocodile Dundee, “Those aren’t sharks. This is a shark.”

    http://www.navsource.org/archives/08/0863202.jpg

    Pictured is the USS Von Steuben SSBN 632 in Holy Loch, Scotland in the floating drydock during the second ever Extended Refit Period for an SSBN. This was in the summer of 1975 nearing the end of the two month mini-overhaul. The Blue Crew Commanding Officer who authorized the paint job was CDR Charles H. Brickell, JR. The shark teeth graphic design was generated by draftsmen from General Dynamics, Electric Boat work force who were performing the maintenance. The painter is a member of the ship’s weapons department who had suggested the idea to CDR Brickell. The photo was taken by an MM1 who was part of the ship’s A-Gang and was a professional photographer as well. I know all of this because I was the ensign supply officer who was ship’s photography officer and thankful we had a professional on board who could capture this famous image for posterity.

  • Mike Irwin

    The proper word is elicit, NOT illicit (which means illegal).