USAAF Nose Art Research Project


American Maid
B-29-40-BW 42-24593

497th Bomb Group

Nose art painted by
Lindsey DECKER, 497th Bomb Group, 869th Bomb squadron
497th Bomb Group
Pacific Region

American Maid

Assigned to the crew of Jack Bartlett, this Wichita-built Superfort was only the second such aircraft to land on Saipan, having flown from the US via Hawaii and Kwajalein to arrive on 20th October 1944. It flew its first combat sortie eight days later to the Japanese sub pens at Dublon Island.

Its bold nose art was another of those painted by Lin Decker and is one of few that he actually added his signature to, albeit in the tiniest of lettering.

On its sixth mission, heading to Nagoya on the first incendiary strike, Bartlett's crew suffered an extraordinary incident when the left blister bubble blew out. Fortunately he was wearing a special harness he had designed himself, wary of just such an occurrence. Krantz recalled, "It might have been the release of pressure from hits in the tail or maybe one of the shell fragments or a piece of flak hit my blister. Anyway, the whole blister blew out and I followed it... head first!" His harness held him and Krantz was able to jam his foot in the edge of the blister, his gloves and oxygen mask were torn away in the freezing gale. Crew members managed to haul him back and give first aid for his frost bite and dislocated shoulder.

"American Maid" survived the war and returned to the US for reclamation.


© Ray Bowden 12 August 2022