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Nicknames. Enemies. Slogans. Animals. Pinup girls.

In the United States military — the U.S. Air Force especially — the tradition of nose art is as rich, colorful and dynamic as the subjects depicted.

“It was a little bit of rebelliousness,” said Brigadier General John D. Slocum, commander of the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing, at a recent unveiling of nose art contest winners’ work at the installation.

“It was aviation graffiti.”

Three artists grabbed prizes (academic scholarships): Rachel Barton, 34, Scott Whiteside, 15, and Marianna Pupka, 56.

In the spirit of honoring the unique, creative pastime, here are snapshots of a few classic examples: