USAAF Nose Art Research Project


Jersey Bounce

358th Fighter Group

Jersey Bounce Photo courtesy of Wendy Kropenick
Photo courtesy of Wendy Kropenick

Flown by John J Kropenick when assigned to 366th Fighter Squadron at Raydon and later at various bases across France when the 9AF moved onto the continent after D-Day. Kropenick served for a total of 30 years and has been described as one of the greatest fighter pilots of the USAF and served in WW2 and later Korea and Vietnam. He held the record for the most jet flying hours of any pilot.

In addition to the P-47 Thunderbolt named "Jersey Bounce" Col Kropenick (popularly known as "Krop") also named his later F-80 Shooting Star jet with the same title. This aircraft crashed in Korea in April 1951.

During his time flying the Thunderbolt in WW2 he was credited with one aerial victory on 17th June 44, denoted on the side of his plane. The title was reputedly painted on both sides of the airplane along with a sitting half nude pin-up on the cowling. At least 40 mission markers also emblazoned the left side of the nose.

Col Kropenick was known to have taken his pet cocker spaniel Tinkle along with him as his co-pilot on numerous occasions.


© Ray Bowden 16 August 2022