No matter which side they were fighting for, pilots loved to adorn their airplanes with decorative painting, so diverse in style, colors, messages being sent, and so on, that it would probably require entire volumes to talk about them all.
Present-day aircraft are not as prone to being used as canvases as before, though. Sure, we do get the occasional A-10 with the many painted noses, and a few others and that’s about it.
Knowing that, we were, needless to say, pleasantly surprised to see an F-15E Strike Eagle of the most modern kind wearing extensive tattoos on its wings and sides. It’s a sight made possible by a Senior Airman being at the right place at the right time, inside a KC-10 Extender, as the fighter jet came in to refuel.
The image you see here was snapped back in February over Los Angeles, California. The Strike Eagle, deployed with the 144th Fighter Wing out of Fresno, flaunted its tattooed wings, showing stylized eagle wings with yellow tips, as it approached the tanker assigned to the 60th Air Mobility Wing. As per the Air Force, the plane needed fuel “so it can continue its security patrol above Los Angeles.”
Aside from the wings painted… over the wings, the plane also wears special decals on the tail and side fuselage. You can zoom in on the main photo of this piece to spot all the messages.