B-17G-75-BO "Carolina Moon" Unit: 851st BS, 490th BG, 8th AF, USAAF Serial: 3S-J (43-37987) Eye, Great Britain, 1944.
Assigned to 490th Bomb Group at Eye in early July 1944, Carolina Moon survived a full year of combat over northern Europe before returning the the USA. Cowan painted a superbly slinky nude reclining on a crescent moon and placed his signature just within the curve at bottom right. With an impressive tally of 78 combat sortie marks emblazoned on its nose and one swastika denoting a fighter kill, the B17 took off from Prestwick as part of Operation Home Run. Lt Lancaster's crew plus passengers flew to Iceland en route for the USA but were forced to leave Carolina Moon there due to engine trouble. Later an unknown crew flew the plane on to Bradley Field on 9th July 1945. By 2nd December Carolina Moon had been transferred to RFC Kingman in Arizona where its magnificent nose art was melted down for pots and pans. (info from USAAF Nose Art Research Project)
Photo by Jay Kuster