Yankee Air Museum names restored B-25 bomber plane
The historic B-25 Bomber at Yankee Air Museum has officially been christened Rosie's Reply and the new name is now painted on the nose of the refurbished World War II fighter plane.
Officials from the museum said the new name is part of the continuing mission to inspire America through honoring the accomplishments of the women collectively known as Rosie the Riveter. The World War II B-25, formerly known as Yankee Warrior, was repainted in December courtesy of Kalitta Air to the exact color specifications it wore flying eight combat missions from Corsica in 1944.
“After the attack on Pearl Harbor, American men left industry in huge numbers to enter the military, creating a severe labor shortage,” said Museum President Kevin Walsh. “To answer this aggression and arm the military, manufacturing in all sectors had to increase. A call for workers went out and women answered that call.”
Walsh explained that the women of the Greatest Generation, entering what were formerly male dominated workplaces, made the deciding difference.
“Their 'we can do it' confidence became the rallying cry to which America responded,” said Walsh. “Theirs was the strength needed to help produce enough equipment to defeat the enemy. Without them, there would not have been an Arsenal of Democracy.”
Walsh added that the Rosie's Reply nose art, applied to an aircraft they built, pays homage to the women of the home front in World War II.
“It serves to remind us of their powerful response to the aggression of enemy forces and that no matter the circumstances or adversity, the reply was 'we can do it,'” said Walsh.
According to Walsh, the B-25 Rosie's Reply received period correct, custom-designed nose art by famed research artist Chad Hill. It features a female factory worker gripping a rivet gun and smiling in a way that conveys she has the moxie to handle anything coming her way.
Well-known aviation artist Hill created and executed the new design. He is a highly- accomplished artist with a 27 years of experience in recreating nose art. At Django Studios he specializes in automotive and aviation design and marketing branding.
“In this image we captured the plucky confidence with which those incredible women handled the monumental task of simultaneously raising kids, holding down the home front, overcoming adversity and, oh yes, helping save the world all at the same time,” he said.
“It is an extremely accurate reproduction of this B-25D's livery in the 57th Bomb Wing, 340th Bomb Group, 489th Bomb Squadron,” said Dan Desko, president of the B-25 History Project. “Yankee Air Museum has done a marvelous thing with its aircraft. In one fell swoop, this plane honors the 489th Bomb Squadron, the home front workers and Kansas City, where this plane was built. This is living history.”
Yankee Air Museum collaborated with The B-25 History Project and the Fairfax Industrial Association in Kansas City to connect with Original Rosies who actually worked on these aircraft at the North American Aviation plant.
“As an active member of Yankee Air Museum, and president of the American Rosie the Riveter Association Michigan Chapter, I am very proud with the initiative in Rosie's Reply,” said Bette Kenward. “The Greatest Generation is aging with the youngest being in the mid-90s. We must continue to show them honor and this does that in a momentous way.”
Kenward explained that one of the reasons the yellow “We Can Do It!” Westinghouse poster remains so powerful seven decades later is because it still gives people courage to face any challenge today.
Yankee Air Museum is located at 47884 D Street, Belleville, on the grounds of historic Willow Run Airport. Visit www.yankeeairmuseum.org to discover more or call (734) 483-4030.
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