Fairford U-2 wears tribute nose art

Personnel from the U-2 unit operating from RAF Fairford applied nose art to one of the aircraft as a tribute to the three US Army soldiers killed recently by a drone at the Tower 22 base in Jordan.

Some members of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron (ERS) gathered on Saturday afternoon, February 4, to sketch a mural on the nose of U-2S, 80-096/BB. In a US Air Force press release an unnamed airman from the 99th ERS at the Gloucestershire base said: “A group of us decided to do a memorial to remember those who fell in Tower 22 in Jordan…I personally knew Sgt Breonna Moffett. We grew up together in Savannah, Georgia.” The artwork applied to the U-2 included a castle representing all Army Combat Engineers, the Georgia state flag, the Army rank of sergeant and the names Rivers, Sanders and Moffett. “We want her family to know that there are people who still remember her, even if we're thousands of miles away.”

The drone attack on January 28 was carried out, according to US President Joe Biden, by “radical Iran-backed militant groups". Iran has denied any involvement in the attack on the US base. Staff Sgt William Rivers, Sgt Kennedy Sanders and Sgt Breonna Moffett were killed while dozens of US military personnel were also injured. The three soldiers were assigned to the 718th Engineer Company, an Army Reserve unit based in Fort Moore, Georgia.

Groundcrew assist with the departure of the U-2S carrying the nose art applied to honour the three soldiers killed recently at the Tower 22 base in Jordan.
Groundcrew assist with the departure of the U-2S carrying the nose art applied to honour the three soldiers killed recently at the Tower 22 base in Jordan. US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone

The US launched the first of its retaliatory strikes on targets in Iraq and Syria on the evening of February 2, which included B-1B Lancer bombers flying roundtrips from the US.

The aforementioned U-2 flew with the tribute nose art the next morning on February 5.

Above and below: Some members of the 99th ERS applying the nose art tribute to a U-2S at RAF Fairford.
Above and below: Some members of the 99th ERS applying the nose art tribute to a U-2S at RAF Fairford. US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
Above and below: The completed artwork on U-2S, 80-096.
Above and below: The completed artwork on U-2S, 80-096. US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone
A completed mural in remembrance of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. William Rivers, Sgt. Kennedy Sanders and Sgt. Breonna Moffett is displayed on a U-2 Dragon Lady at RAF Fairford, England, Feb. 5, 2024. Members of the 99th Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron collectively sketched a mural along the nose of a U-2, which included a castle representing all Army combat engineers, the Georgia state flag, the Army rank of sergeant and the names Rivers, Sanders and Moffett. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jessica Avallone)
US Air Force/Staff Sgt Jessica Avallone