WWII Bomber “Michigan” Featured U-M Stadium

WWII Bomber “Michigan” Featured U-M Stadium

It’s a curiosity: a B-24 Liberator bomber named “Michigan” with a picture of Michigan Stadium painted on its nose (along with a cheesecake photo of a leggy woman wearing a garrison cap). The Yankee Air Museum in Belleville, Michigan, has a research project under way to learn about the bomber. The museum knows the following:

•Type/Model: B-24J-161-CO Tail number: 44-40429

•Built by: Consolidated Aviation

•Built at: Consolidated plant in San Diego, California

•Maiden flight: March 31, 1944

•Delivery date: April 4, 1944

•Assigned to: 5th Army Air Force, 43rd Bombardment Group (Ie Shima), 64th Bomb Squadron (Clark Field, Luzon, Philippines)

•Nose art artist: S/Sgt. Sarkis E. Bartigian (usually misspelled as Bartigan)

The art depicts the stadium, football team, and pennant. The museum does not know for certain of any relationship or connection to the University but assumes that there must have been one through one of the crew members. The artwork is not the typical nose art that appeared on the aircraft during WWII, which also supports the theory that there had to be a direct association.

If you recognize or have any information about the aircraft (for example, who flew it or why the stadium was painted on it), email alumnus.editors@umich.edu and we’ll share it with the museum.

Detail of stadium on the bomber

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