Military Child Designs New Artwork for Fighter Jet

  • Published
  • By Steven Conklin
  • 142nd Wing

New artwork has been revealed on the nose of a 142nd Wing F-15 Eagle, and one military family was particularly excited to see the new design. Leah Ketchum, along with her siblings, cousin, and mother, grinned as they saw the 13-year-old’s art for the first time on the fighter jet.

“It’s amazing!” said Leah. “I’m one of the only kids that gets to have their picture and their name on a jet. How cool is that?”

“It’s super cool!” responded Leah’s mom, Capt. Amber Ketchum, a Force Support Officer with the Oregon Air National Guard. Two of Ketchum’s children entered a contest coordinated by the Wing’s Airman & Family Readiness office earlier this year to highlight the Month of the Military Child. The Month of the Military Child, which falls in April, was designated by the Department of Defense as a way to recognize the sacrifices made by the children of U.S. Military service members.  

In April of 2021, 142nd Wing Airman & Family Readiness Program Manager, Amy Almond-Schmid collaborated with the 173rd Fighter Wing in Klamath Falls, Oregon to give children of Oregon Air National Guardsmen a chance to have fun and show off their artistic talents.

“The nose art competition was just one small way to recognize the sacrifices of military connected youth in our community.” Said Almond-Schmid. “After all, military kids serve too!”

 “I think it’s a wonderful way to get our families involved in the mission,” remarked Capt. Ketchum.  “This contest allowed my own children to see what the 142nd does in Portland. It’s amazing to know that Leah’s artwork is representing what many military children feel about serving alongside us.”

Children of Oregon Guardsmen sent in their artwork which followed some basic guidelines, and the finalists had their submissions judged by leadership at both wings. Leah’s artwork included fireworks, a fighter jet, and the Star Spangled Banner. The inspiration was simple, Leah explained. “Just the colors of America, and how cool it is to live here.”