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13th squadron logo

Oscar through the Years
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The 13th Bomb Squadron Grim Reaper logo -- affectionately known as "Oscar" -- first rode into combat on the side of a SPAD XIII of the 13th Aero Squadron in 1917 or 1918. The official emblem description is "Against a dark, blue field a white skeleton mowing with a yellow scythe with a reddened blade." The Secretary of War approved it 14 February 1924. Oscar

In Oscar's first appearance on the SPAD he was running to the left. However, in the official emblem Oscar is running to the right. Through the years Oscar has been jazzed up and toned down, depending upon the talents and inclination of various artists.

In the 1930s Oscar ran to the left on various Curtiss and Northrop aircraft.

Oscar on a Spad XIII Oscar on an A-17
Oscar on a Spad XIII (left) and A17 (right)

The design seemed to stabilize during the W.W.II when Oscar became the symbol for the 3rd Attack Group, consisting of the 8th, 13th, 89th and 90th Squadrons.

When the Korean War started in June of 1950 Oscar appeared essentially as he was during W.W.II. Aircraft Nan and Old Able always carried the W.W.II Oscar on the right side of the nose.
Tom Shortell with Oscar 1950
"Tom Shortell with Oscar, 1950"

Oscar was redone to stand upright, facing to his right on the squadron stationery sometime after 1950. Oscar

In early 1951 a new Oscar flag waved from a flag atop a flagpole at Iwakuni, Japan. The logo sported streamers from the left and right sides announcing the existence of the 13th Bomb Squadron -- as if anyone needed to be told. The streamered Oscar emblem also appeared on the red shirts of the squadron personnel. Oscar flag

Oscar, circa 1953 Oscar circa 1953

No logos are available of Oscar on the B-57s with which the Squadron was eventually equipped in 1957, but Oscar evolved into another variant during Vietnam as though he was gingerly tiptoeing across the scene. Oscar

Oscar has returned to flying status and regained his wings when the 13th Bomb Squadron was reborn at Dyess AFB, Texas on June 14, 2000 -- this time flying the supersonic B-1 bomber. This is the logo of the "new" 13th. Oscar