An F-15 fighter jet decorated with “las Vegas Strong” in the Aviation Nation, Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada.
A fighter jet at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada is now considered a work of art as a tribute to the 58 victims who died in the Las Vegas shooting on Oct. 1. The device is new to the public in the Aviation Nation, an annual airshow at the base.
The jet was originally going to be painted in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Air Force, but when the drama happened, the pilots decided to commemorate the event by the treatment of a static, the now-retired F-15 fighter jet as a cloth.
In just three weeks, the plane’s paint job was complete, and it remained a secret among the members of the base.
“The Air Force’s motto is adapt and overcome, and that is what we have in the whole process. Everyone stepped up,” said Troy Blaschko, an airplane painter.
He added, “We are very proud to be a part of this.”
The plane is not going to be flying, but will be on display for the duration of the air show, which is expected to attract more than 400,000 people. It is one of the largest air shows in the western United States. Nellis Air Force Base is the home base of the Thunderbirds, the famous air demonstration squadron.
The base is an integral part of the broader Las Vegas community and was directly affected by the shooting.
“We have some healing to do. … The passion and the glory of the paint team and design crews as they put this plane together piece by piece, and scrubbed the piece with the smallest details, everything was based on the honour to give something back to the community,” said Maj-Gen Peter Gersten.
Around 20 people were involved in the project. Some of the motifs and the images have lots of detail. “Vegas Strong” is painted on the left hull, while the famous Las Vegas sign and the skyline of the city to see in other areas on the plane.
This was not the only paint Blaschko and his team undertook. On the opening day of the show there was a surprise. The same painters also were charged with a second job: paint Vegas’ is the new motto, “las Vegas Strong” on the tail of an F-16. This aircraft flew for the spectators during the show, which is low enough so that the people on the ground could see.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the Las Vegas valley who does not know someone who was affected. We had a few hundred people in the air force at the concert in time. … It is a joint effort of the board of directors,” Gersten said.
Andrew Craft is a Fox News multimedia reporter based in Las Vegas, Nevada . Follow him on twitter: @AndrewCraft