Fighter Jet Went Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

pink plane

By Debbie Gregory.

Last month’s breast cancer awareness campaign had a great ally — a retired U.S. Navy fighter jet. To say it was pink would be an understatement!

The Grumman F9F-8 Cougar was painted a shocking shade of pink called “Heliconia.” The plane was on the flight deck of the World War II aircraft carrier USS Lexington, anchored at Corpus Christi, Texas through the end of October.

Thanks to a special paint procedure that included applying liquid dishwashing soap to the latex paint, the color is only temporary.

Decommissioned in 1991, the Lexington was converted to a naval aviation museum.

The Cougars were the Navy’s choice as the first swept-wing plane for the elite Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The Cougar’s were used for various roles, including fighters, ground attack planes, photo reconnaissance, and training aircraft. During the Vietnam War, the two-seater version was used as a forward air control aircraft.

Delta Airlines is also a great supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness; their “Pink Plane,” a specially painted widebody Boeing 767-400ER, flies hundreds of thousands of miles a year, raising awareness for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

According to the Delta website, 91 cents of every dollar donated to BCRF goes directly to research and awareness programs, and since 1993, BCRF-funded investigators have been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. Since 2005, the program has raised $11 million.

For 12 years, Delta has organized annual survivor flights with women who’ve beaten the disease, including their own employees.  The flights are nicknamed “Breast Cancer One.”

This year’s flight honored 140 breast cancer survivors who flew from New York to Los Angeles. Festivities began with an event at the gate in JFK before the pink plane made its way to LAX, where survivors and attendees enjoyed another gatehouse event and an overnight stay, including dinner, hotel accommodations and a meet-and-greet with one of BCRF’s world-renowned researchers, Dr. Sofia Merajver from the University of Michigan.

The Pink Plane looks like it’s been wrapped by a giant, bright pink ribbon. It’s also branded with the BCRF logo.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Military Connection: An Incredible Hero: By Debbie Gregory

Maj. CulbrethAn Army Chaplain is displaying exemplary valor and stalwart resolve in her third battle against cancer. Maj. Melissa Culbreth, brigade chaplain for North Carolina National Guard’s 449th Theater Aviation Brigade, knows all about the battle. She has fought cancer before. She knows what she is up against. This brave hero is taking the fight with her third bout of cancer on her own terms, and she’s starting with a party… of sorts.

On a Sunday in October, on a farm in Franklington, North Carolina, the major had her fiery red hair woven into several braids. The braids were then cut off and the rest of her hair was shaved.

“I wanted to take my hair on my own terms, instead of letting the chemo take it,” Maj. Culbreth said.

This was the second time that Culbreth has thrown a head-shaving party. The first time was back in March, 2010, when she was less than two months removed from returning home from a deployment to Iraq with the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team. At that party 17 people, including comrades and friends, shaved their heads in support of Culberth and her fight. This time around, more than 30 people shaved their heads.

Chaplains are supposed to be there when their soldiers need them. But the turnout of supporters shows the family atmosphere among military personnel, and how every member does their part when called upon to do so.

The fight that the Chaplain now faces is uncertain, but it is certainly winnable. After all, she has beaten cancer twice already. But with the steely demeanor of a battle-hardened warrior, the chaplain faces the anticipation of another round of chemotherapy.

“I know what chemo is like, because I’ve done it,” the chaplain said. “To know I’m going to be doing that again, and going through all the side effects. Again. Right now, that’s probably the hardest part.”

The staff at would like to send our best wishes and prayers to Maj. Culbreth. Her story really hits home for us as our CEO Debbie Gregory is also a breast cancer survivor. We know that the chaplain will win this fight as she has before. And with her attitude, she will inspire an Army in the process.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit, the go to site.

Military Connection: An Incredible Hero: By Debbie Gregory