Monday, December 7, 2015
In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris Friday, U.S. and French aircraft have ratcheted up their air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria.
While the United States provided some targeting assistance for the French sorties, the French aircraft singlehandedly hit dozens of targets in the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa. U.S. aircraft have also continued to hit oilfields controlled by the group in a renewed attempt — called Tidal Wave II — to cut off the one of the Islamic State’s major sources of funding–oil sales.
French President Francois Hollande called Friday’s attacks, which killed more than 120 people, an “act of war.”
Seemingly in tandem with the renewed airstrikes, images —while not verified—have gone viral on social media of American bombs and missiles emblazoned with a phrase of solidarity: “From Paris with Love.”
Other pictures have circulated with the same phrase written on Hellfire missiles. The picture above, however, appears to be of GBU-31 2,000 GPS guided bombs, known as JDAMs. While some on Twitter have said the images are photoshopped, there is a long history in modern warfare of “love notes” being written on everything from bombs to artillery shells.
Following the death of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh at the hands of the Islamic State earlier this year, Jordanian aircraft apparently hit Raqqa with bombs paying tribute to their slain comrade.
On a lighter note, in 2013, this image of Grumpy Cat and the word “Die” stenciled on the side of an airdropped munition went viral and subsequently inspired this VICE piece about the United States’ fascination with drawing things on war machines and the explosives they jettison.
After the 9/11 attacks, a slew of pictures popped up of bombs inscribed with messages for Osama Bin Laden and notes of solidarity for the New York police and fire departments. One message of note was prominently circulated by the Associated Press and shows a Navy sailor next to a bomb aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise in October 2001. On the bomb was a phrase that read “Hijack this” as well as an anti-gay slur. The image was quickly condemned by a number of rights groups and prompted an apology from both the AP and the United States Navy.
World War II marked the glory years for decorating all things meant for combat. Bombers had their famous nose art, while fighters like the P-40 Warhawk had red and white shark mouths scrawled on their nose. Tanks had nicknames written on their gun barrels (think the movie “Fury”) and soldiers went out of their way to decorate their field jackets, bomber jackets etc.
The Korean war had more of the same, while Vietnam had its hand-written helmet covers (made famous by actor Mathew Modine’s “Born to Kill” in the movie “Full Metal Jacket“) and customized war Zippos.
Article from Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a former Marine infantryman and staff writer for the Washington Post