Unusual Marine AV-8B Tail Flash

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Unusual Marine AV-8B Tail Flash

An unusual AV-8B Harrier tail flash. The tail has the black and yellow diamond markings of the VMA-542 Tigers out of Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. Though we haven't seen an explaniation of the symbology that is prominent in the middle. The full tail number of this Harrier is #165307.

Aircraft photograph taken at the 2009 Cleveland National Airshow, Ohio.

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  • Patrick Lines on 2020-Oct-19 02:53:08 Patrick Lines said

    I was a member of VMA542 during the late 90’s early 2000’s the “diamond” pattern is actually tiger stripes “tails” as VMA-542 is the Tigers, a night attack close air support squadron. The symbol in the middle is called, by the squadron, simply the “kanji”. In 1944, VMF(N)-542 deployed to the Western Pacific War Zone to engage in combat operations against Imperial Japan. By early April 1945, most of the squadron was positioned in Okinawa, Japan to take part in the campaign to seize the remainder of the island. Night operations against the enemy began on April 15th with missions being flown from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa. Second Lieutenant Arcenaux had the honor of being the first aviator to down an enemy warplane with a night fighter on April 16, 1945. While stationed at Yontan, the "Tigers" were credited with destroying eighteen Japanese airplanes and carrying out rocket attacks on the Ryukyu Island chain of Amami, O'Shima, Tokuno Shima, Kakai Shima, Miyako Shima, and Amami Gunto. For these actions the "Tigers" were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. Between April and August 1945, Major Robert B. Porter and Captain Wallace E. Sigler became the first night fighter aces on Okinawa. It was during their time in the Western Pacific that VMF(N)-542 adopted the kanji symbol for “tiger” that is seen throughout 542’s history. The symbol was found stamped on Japanese maps where tigers were known to be located. In other words, it was their way of saying “Tigers in the woods...BEWARE!” Today "Tigers" refer to this symbol simply as the "Kanji".

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