Jack Gaffney: Crew Chief/Nose-Artist
List of some of the Gaffney painted aircraft and insignias
Los Angeles City Limits
About Jack Gaffney
Air craft nose art during WWII came from a wide variety of sources and talents, but probably one of the most unusual was to be found in the 401st squadron of the 91st, where assistant crew chief and crew chief Jack Gaffney not only kept 'em flying mechanically, but in high style with his numerous contributions to the nose art of the squadron's aircraft.
Jack enlisted in October 1941, and graduated from Air Mechanics school in April 1942. He was sent to McDill Field, where in May he was assigned to the 91st BG, 401st squadron, as an assistant crew chief.
Shortly thereafter he and Pvts. Fratz, Karas, Ward, and Gibsen were sent on detached service to Grenier Field, Manchester, N.H. It was here that Jack did his first nose art on the nose of a 92 BG B-17.
The crew wanted the name "Stinky" on the right nose side and a tableau for the right waist side. The only paint they could come up with was yellow, so the whole job was done in that color. The tableau was of a huge bomb chasing Hitler and Hirohito, labeled "It All Comes Back To You Now." Life magazine carried pictures of the artwork in the months following. The five rejoined the 91st soon after it moved to Walla Walla from McDill.
At Bassingbourn, Jack was assigned as assistant crew chief (under crew chief Bob Dalton) on Capt. Oscar O'Neil's, "Invasion II", where he did his first 91st Rigid Digit, with coat sleeve done in red, white, and blue stripes. #70 did 23 missions before being shot down on 4-17-43.
During this time Gaffney painted two other well-known 91st aircraft, "The Bad Egg" and "The Sky Wolf."
After losing "Invasion II" M/Sgt. Dalton and Gaffney were assigned to 42-29591, LL-Z "The Shamrock Special." The art in Shamrock Special was probably unique during WWII. Jack painted both sides of the nose, with a different girl on either side, and in October of '43 added a picture of a nude on the right vertical stabilizer "call Hollywood 337" for a rare example of "tail art" and probably the only plane in WWII with three art pictures.
LL-Z was unusual in another respect. The tail section (and Hollywood 337) was badly damaged when "The Careful Virgin" smashed into its tail section when landing without brakes. The entire aircraft from the radio room back was replaced with the rear section of another damaged aircraft, similar to the operation on Little Miss Mischief.
In February 1944, Jack became crew chief of 42-31812 LL-H, "Destiny's Child," so named by radio operator Gene Letallien, and did the nose art for the plane. It flew 52 missions before being shot down over Leipzig, Germany, on a raid to the Mockau Airdrome.
After the demise of "Destiny's Child" Jack was assigned to anew aircraft, "Sunkist Sue," for which he also did the artwork.
The photographs on the following pages can be downloaded by any visitor to the 91st Bomb Group (H) site. However, we ask that permission be formally requested via email to use any of the photos on another website. Thank You