Historic paint scheme for F-15 fighter jet unveiled to mark D-Day invasion
PUBLISHED: 16:54 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:29 04 February 2019
Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk
Airmen and special guests were treated to the sight of a new livery for an F-15 fighter jet commemorating the American effort on D-Day.
The unveiling of the aircraft which took place at the home of the US Air Force’s (USAF) 48th Fighter Wing, RAF Lakenheath in Suffolk, is the beginning of a series of events to take place throughout the year at the base in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
With the backdrop of a USAF P-47 Thunderbolt, the same type of aircraft used by the 48th Bombardment Group during the invasion of Normandy which flew more than 2,000 sorties during the war, a newly painted F-15 Strike Eagle was unveiled to the song Back in Black.
Painted with a red and white chequered nose, white and black ‘invasion stripes’ on the wings, and the Statue of Liberty on the tails, the fighter jet has been painted to match the colour scheme of the P-47s which fought 75 years ago.
Three of RAF Lakenheath’s F-15s will be painted in slightly different colours and all are going to be flown in the flyby over the beaches of Normandy on June 6 of this year to remember the sacrifices of the men who fought that day.
The project, which began around six months ago, saw 10 airmen spend 640 man hours painting and cost $15,000.
Commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, Colonel Will Marshall, said the new livery was a direct reminder and link to the wing’s history.
He said: “It is a huge morale boost. Everybody who sees this airplane instantly feels better about being part of the 48th Fighter Wing.
“It ties directly back to our World War Two heritage and our support of the D-Day invasion but it also gives us a great opportunity to admire and honour the great bravery of the men who supported that invasion that day and the men that went ashore.”
Col Marshall said the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion was particularly special due to the fact it is likely the last one for many veterans of the war to experience.
He added: “We will use these airplanes like any other airplane. They’ll go into the flying schedule so they’ll be flying here throughout the United Kingdom until they go back to their regular scheduled paint in the US so we have several months of living with this paint scheme which is pretty great.
“From the pilots that fly to the crew chiefs that man it to the folks here that maintain it back in the backshops, everybody is super stoked about this project.”