MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 was presented with an original painting by Satoshi Watanabe, a Japanese painter and military aircraft fanatic, here March 15.
The painting is art consisting of an F/A-18 Hornet and the squadron logo incorporated into one imaginary scene, said Watanabe.
The work of art is a night scene of a 242 F/A-18 Hornet flying in front of a full moon with a stream of bats flying around the aircraft.
“As a squadron, we fly a great deal at night,” said Lt. Col. Chris Pappas III, commanding officer of VMFA (AW)-242. “As our mission is all-weather fighter attack, having that aircraft with the moon at night time is very symbolic of what we do.”
Painted on the tail wing of the aircraft is the squadron’s bat call sign in commemoration of the squadron’s historical background.
“We take a lot of pride in the squadron history, and to have it captured in a medium like painting is fantastic,” said Pappas.
VMFA (AW)-242 was originally established as Marine Torpedo Bombing Squadron 242 in 1943 and has established a combat history since 1944 flying the TBF-1 and TBM-1 Avenger.
In 1945, after World War II, the squadron was deactivated and reactivated as Marine Attack Squadron 242 in 1960.
In 1964, the squadron was redesignated as Marine All-Weather Attack Squadron 242, flying the A-6 Intruder, which gave them the capability to carry out reconnaissance missions in all weather conditions.
It wasn’t until 1991 that VMA(AW) was redesignated as Marine All Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 242 when the squadron began flying the F/A-18 Night Attack Hornet, but the bat logo has lasted through the decades.
The painting is a very good likeness of the aircraft,” said Pappas. “For him to take that and translate that into a piece of artwork is very motivating.”
Watanabe has painted many military aircraft and donated the original works of art to the units each painting represents.
In 2008, Watanabe donated a painting to the U.S. Navy Attack Fighter Squadron 192, stationed at Naval Air Station Lemoore, located in Kings County, Calif. The painting incorporated their call sign by illustrating the symbol of a golden dragon standing over a F/A-18C Hornet NF300.
That same year, Watanabe donated two original paintings to the U.S. Navy’s Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, popularly known as the Blue Angels.