I was pleased to read the article in the Great Bend Tribune about the vintage B-25 World War II bomber aircraft “Maid In The Shade”, which made a visit to Great Bend. My late father John William “Bill” Marples and his sister Ina Marples (my late aunt) both worked at Boeing-Wichita during World War II. My Dad was a sheet-metal supervisor, being in-charge of over 500 men at one time, and my aunt was a proverbial “Rosie-the-Riveter”. My dad and aunt primarily worked on building B-17s and B-29 bombers, but they saw a few B-25s come in for emergency maintenance. I recall my dad teling me how some planes were shot-up so badly by German forces, that “nearly all the rivets were loose, and the airplane barely held together”. Although the B-25 was manufactured by a different company, it can be said that Boeing workers had a high regard for the plane. In the Tribune report, I liked the nose-art of “Maid In The Shade” which features a beautiful young woman in skimpy-attire alongside an outline of the Mediterranean Island of Corsica where the plane was stationed in 1944. Nose-art could be referred to as elegant aircraft graffiti. It usually depicted “Patriotic Slogans” or messages to instill fear in the enemy combatants (or even, contempt for the enemy)---but mainly it was art with heartfelt images of moments or memories of “back home in America” (such as the paintings of beautiful young women to boost morale among the crews, who didn’t know if they would come back from their missions dead or alive. The art was meant to keep our military hopeful that they would survive and prevail, with a future ahead of themselves. Sometimes “nose-art” was also meant to merge with camouflage patterns of the aircraft.
I am glad to see reports that Great Bend had it “Maid In The Shade”...at least for awhile.
May history inspire us, but I also hope and pray that our Military vigilance remains so strong that no enemy would dare oppose us again. It’s great to be an airplane buff, but we need to be mindful that the airplanes’ original purpose wasn’t merely for display, but for actual use. God bless our troops. And, may we only engage in worthy battles to defend solely our own (American) interests.
James A. Marples