USAAF Nose Art Research Project


 

Mary Anna
B-29-20-MO 42-65253

505th Group, 482nd Squadron



Nose art painted by
Bill VALENTINE
Naval Construction Battalion (Seabees)
Pacific

Mary Anna

Nose art often utilised a play-on-words within its titling and it was usually as tongue-in-cheek innuendo. Valentine's cartoon nude was no exception. Tinian, where the 505th Bomb Group was based for its assault on Japan, was located within the Marianna Islands. This was a string of tiny islands which included Guam, Tinian and Saipan all of which became vital bases for the USAAF and all taken at great cost by the marines.

This nose art is, to date, the only non-emblematic image known to have been painted by Bill Valentine. Little has been established on its combat service except that "Mary Anna" was badly damaged and ditched on 7th May 1945.

Fighters shot out #1 and #3 engines and put large holes in both wings, tail and fuselage. The tip of the horizontal stabilizer was shot away and all flap control was lost. Aircraft commander Lt Andrew Penn was severely wounded in both arms. A short time after leaving the target at Oita the #2 engine had to be feathered and surplus equipment was jettisoned in preparation for ditching. When it hit the water, one wing sliced into a wave and slammed the aircraft down, breaking it in two.

The wounded pilot, now unconscious, could not be pulled from the sinking plane but the other ten men scrambled into life rafts. They were rescued one and a half hours later.





 
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© Ray Bowden 25 February 2024