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Nose art dedication

  • Published
  • By Gerald Green
  • 440th Airlift Wing, Public Affairs
On August 25, 1944, the XVIII Airborne Corps was organized, forming the nucleus of the airborne forces destined to fight in Europe during WWII. The formation of the Corps consisted of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Brigades. Just one month later, Soldiers from the XVIII would be sent into action for the Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity. They were carried by the crews and aircraft of the 440th Troop Carrier Group, known today as the 440th Airlift Wing. 

In North Carolina on Aug. 25, exactly 65 years later, the XVIII Corps and what is now the 440th AW came together again to complete the relationship that began in 1944.
To mark this historic event, the 440th AW dedicated a unique nose art to the XVIII Corps. The ceremony was in Hangar 4, one of the oldest buildings on Pope. More than 300 members of the Army and Air Force, along with state and local dignitaries attended the ceremony and witnessed the unveiling of the nose art. 

The guest speaker at the ceremony was Maj. Gen. James Rubeor, 22nd Air Force Commander, who spoke of the historical nature of the event. The general also spoke of the continuing relationship of these two great fighting forces and said that today, as it was in 1944, the XVIII Corps is carried into battle by the 440th AW. 

Col. Merle Hart, 440th AW Commander, spoke of the commitment he and the members of the 440th AW have to the continuing support of the Corps and is an integral part of the Wing's mission today and in the future. Colonel Hart added that the strength of the wing and the corps is a vital link in the war against forces that want to harm the United States.
The Deputy Commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn, was visibly awed when he and Colonel Hart unveiled the plaque that resembled a smaller version of the C-130 tail section branded with the XVIII Corps insignia. The aircraft serial number identifier 60418 numerically identifies with the aircraft and the XVIII Corps. 

Today the XVIII Airborne Corps -- the Army's largest war fighting organization -- is the only airborne corps in the defense establishment of the United States and exercises control over approximately 88,000 Soldiers. 

Affixing names to aircraft and painting decorative nose art is a tradition dating back to pilots who would name their aircraft after a mother, girlfriend, wife or pinup icon. 

When the Base Realignment and Closure Commission changed the established military structure, the process required the 440th AW from Milwaukee to move to Pope in 2007. The wing has 16 C-130 Hercules aircraft flown by reserve and active duty forces assigned to the wing. The 440th Airlift Wing continues to grow and has more than 1,200 reservists and civilian employees assigned to the wing.