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| Veteran's Memorial Air Park |
OV-10 Bronco Association & Forward Air Controller's Museum
P. O. Box 161966
Fort Worth, TX 76161
| Contact Information: |
OV-10 Bronco Association
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December 4, 2007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Fort Worth Four Homecoming Planned
FORT WORTH, TX . The Fort Worth Veteran's Memorial Air Park (FTW VMAP) has announced plans to recover and restore four aircraft with significant ties to Fort Worth. The OV-10 Bronco Association, owner and operator of the FTW VMAP and Forward Air Controller's Museum (FACM) plan to display these aircraft at Meacham Field as soon as their homecomings can be financed and arranged.
The "Fort Worth Four," as the museum refers to them are:
- An Air Force F-111E "Aardvark" built in Fort Worth by General Dynamics in 1970.
- A Navy/Marine Corps RF-8G "Crusader" built in Grand Prairie by Chance-Vought in 1960 and served at Navy Dallas with Marine Photo-Reconnaissance Squadron VMJ-4.
- An Air Force TF-102 "Delta Dagger" built in Fort Worth by Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, Convair, in 1958 and served at various locations throughout Texas.
- A Navy A-7 "Corsair II" built by Vought in 1968.
Each of these aircraft has significant links to Fort Worth and the DFW Metroplex.
For instance, "there is no example on the F-111 on display anywhere in the Metroplex, even though 563 of them were produced at what is now the Lockheed Martin facility in Fort Worth," says Jim Bloomberg, Director of Aircraft Operations for the museum. This particular airplane spent most of its career in Great Britain before it was decommissioned and sent to the aircraft boneyard in Arizona to await disposition. "Another museum wanted this airplane but eventually defaulted on the transfer," Bloomberg added. The aircraft is still in a salvage facility waiting recovery, nearly four years later. If not recovered, this aircraft will be destroyed for scrap.
The RF-8 is a true combat veteran. It started life with Navy Photo-Reconnaissance Squadron VFP-63. It, along with others, flew dangerous missions over Laos and Southeast Asia before the Vietnam War began. In fact, an RF-8, like this one, was the first casualty of that conflict. Later, this airplane was transferred to the Marine Air Reserve Training Detachment at NAS Dallas. Many Marines in the Metroplex have a history with this airplane. Most recently, it was part of a display in Mobile, Alabama but was damaged by hurricane Katrina and returned to the National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola, Florida. There, it was discovered by members of the Veteran's Memorial Air Park on a recovery mission of an A-4 "Skyhawk." "The airplane was slated to be a target on a bombing range in Florida until we said we wanted it for our Veteran's Memorial Air Park," Bloomberg stated. "This airplane is a combat veteran," Bloomberg continued "and it deserves a better fate than to be blown up for practice. Our air park will be a perfect place to honor the people who flew and served with this airplane and ones like it," Bloomberg added.
The TF-102 is a two seat version of the "single seat fighter" and is a very rare airplane in its own right. Only 85 aircraft were produced. The forward fuselage of these airplanes were built by Convair in Fort Worth and shipped to San Diego for final assembly. The "Deuce" was used as a pilot trainer for the B-58 "Hustler" bomber and F-102's. This airplane also served in several Air Force squadrons throughout Texas.
The A-7 "Corsair II," was built in both Air Force and Navy version by Vought in Grand Prairie. This particular airplane served with various Navy ground attack squadrons, including VA-25, VA-122, VA-204 and VA-304. It made several carrier cruises and was damaged in combat by surface to air enemy fire and safely returned aboard its ship.
"These four aircraft are worthy of being saved and displayed as memorials to the people who flew and supported them in defense of our freedoms," stated Jim Hodgson, President of the OV-10 Bronco Association. "As each of these airplanes arrives here in Fort Worth we will give them a homecoming befitting veterans," Hodgson added.
The Veteran's Memorial Air Park through the OV-10 Bronco Association (OBA) is conducting fund raising efforts to save these airplanes for the Fort Worth community. The OBA is a certified 501(C)3 non profit corporation chartered for educational purposes, so donations and gifts are tax deductible.
Each aircraft have a variety of costs associated with their recovery and restoration, such as transfer fees, transportation costs, crane rentals, supplies, lodging and travel expenses and others. They all have a different set of circumstances associated with their acquisition and final display. All aircraft are non-flying and will only be for static display. They will come to the museum on loan either through the National Museum of Naval Aviation or through the Texas Government Surplus Property Program. None of these aircraft have ties to the US Air Force.
The total cost to return all four of these airplanes to Fort Worth will be $42,500. To date, the museum has raised just over $15,000 toward that goal. Each is being handled separately under individual accounts.
The F-111 is the closest to being recovered, with just over $10,000 of the $13,000 needed already raised or pledged. Half of these funds have been pledged by the local B-36 Peacemaker Museum on a matching funds basis. Once the "Vark" is here, it will still require $5,000 for restoration and display. After the F-111 is recovered, the most likely to be returned is the "Crusader," which only needs an additional $3,500 to make its homecoming possible. The other two will be harder to bring home due to thin financial support.
The Veteran's Memorial Air Park needs help to bring the "Fort Worth Four" aircraft home. Christmas gifts or year end tax deductible donations from veterans, aviation or history enthusiasts and others, will help make these homecomings possible. Interested parties can contact the OBA directly or through the Museum's web site at www.OV-10Bronco.net. The contact person for details on the individual airplanes is Jim Bloomberg, Director of Aircraft Operations, 214-952-8502 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of the Fort Worth Veteran's Memorial Air Park is three fold:
- Preservation: The Fort Worth Veter an's Memorial Air Park (FTW VMAP) will preserve examples of military aircraft manufactured or based in North Texas, relevant to the role of Forward Air Control or are historically significant. In addition, the history of people who built and served with these aircraft in the defense of our nation will be maintained.
- Inspiration: The FTW VMAP will endeavor to inspire young people to continue their educations using aviation to encourage careers in aviation, technology, engineering, and the military.
- Education: The FTW VMAP will educate the public on the historical role North Texas and its people have played as a world-wide leader in military aviation.
Aircraft already in the collection include: the original factory mockup of the North American OV-10 Bronco; two Vietnam and Cold War veteran Air Force Cessna O-2A Skymasters; two veteran OV-10A Broncos, one Air Force and one Marine Corps; an Air Force/Navy Northrop F-5E Tiger II aggressor flown in the movie "Top Gun"; the last McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II to have flown in the Navy, a QF-4S, known as "Scooby"; and "Christine," the longest serving F-14D Tomcat in US Naval history. The Veteran's Memorial Air Park is open to visitors on weekends at no charge at the Vintage Flying Museum facility at 505 NW 38th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76106 Note our new address! Visit us Sat./Sun. 8:00am - 6:00pm or other times by appointment at 3300 Ross Ave., Fort Worth, TX 76106; please use this address for all mail: P. O. Box 161966, Fort Worth, TX 76161. You can phone us toll-free at 1-800-575-0535.
Photos available on request.
The Fort Worth Veteran's Memorial Air Park (VMAP) and the Forward Air Controller's Museum (FACM) are enterprises of the OV-10 Bronco Association, Inc., a Texas non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the preservation of historic combat aircraft and other aspects of military aviation for the benefit of the local community.