October has all but been taken over with pink to show support for breast cancer awareness with pink shirts, ribbons, food, and even famous landmarks. Now a retired U.S. fighter jet has received the pink treatment.
The USS Lexington Museum on the Bay in Corpus Christi, Texas, unveiled the F9F-8 Cougar Monday in a full coat of Heliconia “a vibrant shade of pink,” according to a museum news release. The plane is on display on the USS Lexington’s flight deck through the end of the month.
The aircraft saw brief combat in Vietnam in the 1970s, but otherwise it served more as a trainer craft, according to the National Aviation Museum.
USS Lexington Museum officials said the makeover is fitting for a plane once used in combat. They chose a fighter plane to support all the women (and men) fighting and surviving breast cancer.
However, some might consider a pink plane from the U.S. military a tenuous gesture in the fight against breast cancer and another example of “pinkwashing” where brands align themselves with a worthy cause with no discernible connection.
Karuna Jaggar, executive director at the San Francisco-based Breast Cancer Action organization, finds the pink plane rather ironic and a distraction. “We’re looking at tool of violence and death” to show support for women’s lives, she said. She added that auto and jet exhaust is linked to an increased risk of breast cancer.
Jaggar said she’s seen plenty of militaristic and everyday objects from handcuffs to garbage cans splashed with the ubiquitous pink. “I think year after year we think weve reached the pinnacle of absurdity,” she said. “What do we have to show for this empty awareness?”
The Cougar is believed to be the first fighter plane to be painted pink. The symbolic paint job isn’t permanent dishwashing liquid was applied to latex paint so the plane will return to its less noticeable gray after the campaign ends.