P-40 WARHAWK LULU BELLE
COL. PHILIP ADAIR, 89TH FS, 80TH FG, 10TH AF
“Our Fighter Group was known as the Burma Banshees, and when I was assigned my P-40, I took some liberties to personalize it. Being an old-car guy—I loved the cars of the 1930s—I borrowed some white paint and painted whitewalls on all the tires including the tailwheel. I decided to name my Warhawk after a famous New York model named Lucille. Each P-40 in our Group had a death’s head skull prominently painted on our noses, with blood dripping from its teeth. We knew the Japanese were superstitious, so we just stacked the deck in our favor with the skull head hoping to scare the heck out of them.”
There is no doubt that the world has become too politically correct to put up with a bunch of young people putting their questionable marks on government property. Still, even today, the testosterone and élan sometimes breaks through and a personal mark is allowed. In fact, the services have occasionally painted a few airplanes purposely to commemorate a time long ago, when freedom was in question and kids with their aerial graffiti had to provide the answer.