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Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

G-Symbols helped identify Navy carrier planes

  • The bold pattern on the tail of this plane identifies it as from the Randolph.

    By Cory Graff

    The bold pattern on the tail of this plane identifies it as from the Randolph.

By 1945, there were gaggles of Navy carrier planes seemingly everywhere in the skies over the Pacific. To keep track of who was who, the Navy ordered distinctive and bold white symbols painted on the aircraft so flyers could tell, for example, Hellcats from the USS Franklin (a single white diamond) from the USS Hornet (white checkers). Mostly straight lines, (curves and circles took too long to lay out), the geometric shapes—chevrons, triangles, squares, and stripes—where quickly nicknamed “G-Symbols.” They adorned the tails and wings of all fast carrier Navy planes in combat in the Pacific.

Aircraft from the Randolph received white tails and ailerons. The Insignia White field on the tail was broken by a trio of 7-inch blue horizontal lines. The FHC’s Hellcat now wears this distinctive “G-Symbol” pattern.

Story tags » Military aviation

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