Sioux City’s 185th Iowa Air National Guard unit is celebrating their 75th anniversary with a specially painted plane.
One of their KC-135 refuelers has been painted with a giant “bat” tail flash.
The gothic looking bat on the tail of the aircraft is a throwback to when the unit flew F-100 Fighters in Vietnam during the late 1960s.
They were known as “The Bats” because they often flew missions during the night.
Chief Master Sgt. Eric Kelley, the 185th’s Equipment Maintenance Flight Superintendent, says they received special permission to paint the plane:
OC……back to depot. :12
Sgt. Kelley says the plane will remain in service with the new paint markings:
OC………around the world. :07
This was the first time the Air Wing has attempted a giant size tail flash on one of their KC-135 aircraft.
The entire 25 foot tail section had to be removed and painted black.
Once the tail was balanced and reattached, crew members from the 185th’s paint facility completed stenciling and painting:
OC…….progress moving :14
The nose of the plane displays a 75th anniversary diamond surrounded by silhouettes depicting each aircraft flown by the unit since its beginnings in 1946.
A thunderbolt painted along with the diamond on the front of the aircraft is representative of some of the first jet aircraft flown like the F-84 “Thunderjet.”
The unit flew single seat fighter aircraft for most of it history before converting to the KC-135 in 2003.
Photos by Mst Sgt Vince DeGroot