Castle Air Force officials say the painting is designed to instill pride in the crews that fly and maintain SAC aircraft, but some women's rights groups say they find the pinup art form offensive.
Col. Richard Martin, commander of the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle, says today's aircraft pinups aren't so scantily clad as those of the 1940s. The sometimes-racy World War II pinups are "too sexist and not appropriate," he says.
"We want enthusiasm, vigor and spirit, but we don't want to offend anyone," says Martin.
Plane art originated during World War I when aircraft first assumed a major role in warfare. The "Hat in The Ring Squadron" was among the best known pieces of plane art of the era and was emblazoned on the side of Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker's fighters.
During World War II, pinups such as "Ack Ack Annie," "Memphis Belle," "Pistol Packing Mamma" and "Shoo Shoo Baby" were featured on warplanes and were considered a source of pride to the troops. But nose cones carried other art forms, such as "Blue Goose," and "Poop Deck Pappy."
Martin says he's already approved a sketch of a knight with a sword and shield mounted on a horse that will be painted on the nose of another Stratotanker. Jones says crews are continually looking for ways to personalize their planes, and they find nose cone art to be a perfect outlet.
"We paint the hubs but have to remove the paint when it is discovered," says Staff Sgt. Jones. "It's nice not to have to be sneaky."