by Tech. Sgt. Kent Kagarise
442nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
8/23/2012 - WHITEMAN AIR FORCE, Mo. -- Master Sergeant Bob Boye, 442nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, was intrigued by A-10 Thunderbolt II door art from the beginning of his Air Force career in 1988.
When Boye became a dedicated crew chief, he took the opportunity to personalize his own aircraft.
"I always wanted to have a door that I could call my own, but what a lot of people don't realize is we pay for the art, and early on in my active-duty career I just couldn't afford it," Boye said.
The art is decided by the crew chiefs and pilots, who collaborate to bring about an illustration that often depicts the plane's history and dedicated crew chief or pilot's personalities.
"This plane has been to Iraq once since I've been with it, and I've always wanted something patriotic," Boye said. "I spoke with the pilot, and he pretty much gave me the go ahead."
Boye contacted a friend in Kansas City, Mo. who designed and painted helmets for boat racers and explained his ideas for the art, which totaled $400 in cost.
"I couldn't think of anything more patriotic than an eagle," Boye said. "It's a symbol of power and freedom."
Although the words painted under the eagle are recognized as part of the Pledge of Allegiance Boye got his inspiration from a Metallica album cover.
It's been on there now for 10 or 12 years, and it's all weathered like me - but I like it," he said.
Boye pointed out that Air Force policy limits what and where art can be placed on an aircraft.
"Obviously you've got to be careful not to offend anybody, but having art that you can call your own really lets a crew chief take pride in his jet," Boye said.
Boye explained that even though a dedicated crew chief has his name on the plane there is something special about door art.
"The A-10 isn't pretty like a lot of other planes with slick paint that can be polished," Boye said. "There's only so much you can do to them, which makes A-10 door art unique."
Staff Sgt. Russell Roberts, 442nd AMXS crew chief, explained that aircraft art is something that became popular during World War II.
"Back then they'd put art all over the plane, but now as technology and standards have changed, you can't do that as much," Roberts said. "It's nice that we still have this one area that can be personalized."
Airman 1st Class Brandon Jewell, 442nd AMXS crew chief, said the heritage of door-art gives him something with which to look forward.
"I'd want to have something that represents what the A-10 does," Jewell said. "I'm not sure of the art, but it would represent terror coming out of the sky."
Boye said he has received compliments concerning his door throughout the years, and it always gives him a sense of satisfaction.
Note: Ladder door art inscription: ... AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
Source (including 2 photos)