Breaking News
More () »

Portland's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Portland, Oregon | KGW.com

Artwork on F-15 remembers the life of longtime former crew chief

Master Sgt. Marty Nance served more than 30 years and died in 2018 after his body was pulled from the Willamette River

PORTLAND, Ore. — New artwork on the nose of an Oregon Air National Guard's F-15 remembers the life of longtime crew chief, Master Sgt. Marty Nance.

Nance joined the service in 1986 and served up until his death in 2018. 

Nance was reported missing after failing to show up for guard duty, something he had never done in his 30 plus year career. Family and friends spent weeks passing out flyers and searching for the 49-year-old man. In March of 2018, Multnomah County Sheriff's divers pulled Nance's body out of the Willamette River.

On June 6, the Oregon National Guard held a small ceremony remembering Nance. Artwork depicting a shark's mouth and eyes was unveiled on the nose of the F-15 Nance once worked on.

"It's really, really special," Lisa Veber, Nance's sister, said in an interview with the Oregon National Guard. "In the beginning when I found out the name was going on the jet, that was super special because it just said a lot for how everybody felt about him out here."

The shark's mouth and eyes have a deeper meaning.

"For some reason he got fixated on sharks a long time ago and that became his moniker," Veber said.

While in college at Oregon State, Nance cut off the roof of an old car and added shark fins to the back. On the side was a shark's mouth and eyes and the name of the newly designed car, Land Shark.

Credit: Lisa Veber

"There's people that worked with Marty that are telling the story of Marty and how he liked sharks on everything," says Colonel David Unruh, 142nd Wing Commander. "The F-15, it just looks good on the jet because we've got a big radar, a big old nose cone out there and it really has the real estate to wrap around. It looks pretty mean."

Now those mean looking teeth and eyes, along with Marty's name on the nose of the F-15 will help keep his memory alive.

"It does kind of shape the future generation. When you get new people coming in as crew chiefs or pilots, they'll go what do these shark teeth mean?" said Unruh.

 "Well... let me tell you about Marty."

Credit: Oregon Air National Guard
Oregon Air National Guard Master Sgt. Martin Nance (left) introduces his Superior Performer for the three-week Weapons Instructor Course (WIC) exercise, Staff Sgt. David Schenk (right) as the last day of training concludes at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., June 15, 2017. Over 120 Airmen from the 142nd Fighter Wing supported the WIC training from May 29 to June 16, 2017. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. John Hughel, 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs)

RELATED: Oregon Air National Guard will get new fighter jet

RELATED: Remembering Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese-American woman to fly for the U.S. military

More KGW stories here: