As previously announced, on Sunday, September 20, 2009 volunteers with the Veteran's Memorial Air Park in concert with Marine WWS personnel at Joint Reserve Base Ft. Worth (Carswell Field) recovered two aircraft for display at VMAP including a US Navy TA-4J Skyhawk (BuNo 158073) and a US Air Force F-4C Phantom II (S/N 64-0825). These aircraft were made available to the VMAP for preservation and display via a loan program of their owners, the National Museum of Naval Aviation based in Pensacola, Florida.
There was a slight delay for a historic reason... the volunteers were witness to the spectacular sight of the Space Shuttle Discovery being ferried on the back of NASA's modified 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (N911NA), which landed at the base to refuel during the trip back to Florida from Edwards AFB in California where the STS-127 mission landed last week. With only 6 more shuttle flights scheduled, it's very likely that this amazing sight will never be repeated until the orbiters make one last fligth to their final display locations after they are retired next year.
Despite the delay, the airframes were mostly delievered to VMAP by about 1 PM. The tail section of the TA-4J remains at the JRB, but will be retrieved soon. There was an issue with the crane the Marines brought not being able to lift the F-4C over the fence at the VMAP, but some friends from the city were able to assist a couple of days later so the Rhino's now safely in our "petting zoo" as well. There are some odds and ends yet to do but (mentally at least) getting the planes to our facility is a HUGE boost to our efforts! Members of the media from DFW People and NAS News were in attendance when the aircraft arrived, so we anticipate some positive media coverage of our activities.
A huge THANK YOU for all who helped out on this effort. The VMAP continues to grow due to the work of many hard-working volunteers, so that we can make sure that the deep history these aircraft represent will be shared and preserved for many more generations to come.