Nose-art on USN & USMC Aircraft

Please allow time for images to load. Updated - 16 Oct 2017

See also...

B-25 Noseart
French Air Force
Other Armed Forces

The first post-war use of bats as Squadron insignia was by Observation Squadron VOS-3S US Navy (circa 1923). This squadron had been supplied with scout aircraft (Vought O2U-1 Corsair) that were so poorly suited to observation duties that crews complained of being 'blind as bats'. During this time, several observation squadrons were flying out of Guantanamo Bay and all designated a Cuban bat (perhaps Artibeus?) to represent their 'blind' status. VOS-3S retained this insignia throughout its history, even as its designation changed to VS-5S, VS-5B, VCS-2 (see below) and finally VS-6S. The aircraft pictured below is a VOS-3S O2U-1 attached to the USN Cruiser SS Raleigh.

Grumman F6F Hellcat of VFN-90 (J. Valo)

Lt Cdr Stevens & Lt Cdr Neal of VB-134 (Lockheed Ventura - Tom Tullis artwork)

4 June 1944 - Empire Express FAW-4 (small bat on tail fin)

P2-V Neptune of VP-24 (see tip of tail fin) (B. Esposito)

P2-V Neptune of VP-24 (see tip of tail fin) (D. Husman)

P2-V Neptune of VP-24 from (J. Cultice @ P2VNeptune.ORG)

P-3 Orions of VP-24 (see bat on tail fin)

P-3 Orion of VP-24 (B. Esposito)

Douglas AD-5W Guppy of VAW-12 (P. Mersky)

Navy VQ Squadrons

Douglas TA-3B Skywarrior of VQ-1 (D Howeley)

Douglas EA-3B Skywarrior of VQ-1 (J Sewell)

Douglas EA-3B Skywarriors of VQ-1

Douglas EA-3B Skywarriors of VQ-1

Douglas EA-3B Skywarriors of VQ-1

EP-3E Orions of VQ-1 (see bat under cockpit window and on tail fin)

Thanks to Mark Swisher for sending along these photographs of VQ-2 aircraft (EP-3E & EA-3B).
Visit the site!

ES-3A Shadow of VQ-5

ES-3A Shadow of VQ-5 (right VQ-5 DET 14 decal set - Modeller: Scott Nagle, via R. Sisson)

North American RA-5C Vigilantes of RVAH-13 (note bats on jet intakes and tail fins) (artwork: Jim Laurier)

North American RA-5C Vigilante of RVAH-13 (note small bats on jet intakes and tail fin)
Visit the HATRON 13 Website

US Marine (USMC) Squadrons

VMFA-242 has its own page

Grumman A-6 Intruders of VMF-242 (Grumman corporation)
(Thanks to M. Duermyer VMA-242 for corrections herein)

Heartfelt thanks to 'My friends at VMFA(AW)-242' BUNO-165410 over Fallujah, October 2004.


F-14 of VX-9

Bats on tail fins of VX-9 a/c (visit the Goleta Museum!) Right: Aero L-39C of VX-9 (Photo C. Snodgrass)

USN Helicopter Squadrons

MH-60R Seahawk belonging to the HSL-43 DET-3 'Battlecats'