The F-86L Sabre, which has been on display for decades, will undergo an extensive refurbishment before being put on permanent display at George W. Bush Air Park at Moody Field.
Although originally dedicated in 1961, the aircraft was re-dedicated 20 years later in honor of U.S. Air Force Maj. Lyn McIntosh. The Valdosta native was a rescue pilot killed April 25, 1980, in Operation Iron Claw - a rescue attempt for Americans held hostage in Tehran, Iran. The F-86 named in his memory entered Moody's gates at approximately 3 a.m., April 25 - 32 years to the day after McIntosh's passing.
-Airmen from Moody Air Force Base look on as an F-86L Sabre is lifted off its mount by a crane and placed on a flatbed trailer for transport to the base April 24, 2012. A rededication ceremony will take place in the future to commemorate the late Maj. Lyn McIntosh and to represent the heritage of the Flying Tigers at the George W. Bush Air Park at Moody Field. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eileen Meier/Released)-
The overnight relocation began at 10 p.m., with the removal of the aircraft support structure. Once the aircraft was free, it was hoisted by crane onto a waiting flatbed trailer. Several city and base agencies assisted with the relocation, including: Moody civil engineers, security forces, crash recovery, Lowndes County and Valdosta Sheriff's Department, and Valdosta utility departments.
"On a scale of one to 10, it was a 10," said Tech. Sgt. Chad Everett, 23d Equipment Maintenance Squadron crash recovery assistant section chief. "We got the aircraft from downtown back to base safe and sound, and no one was hurt - overall 100 percent success."
The 13-mile trek to the base took nearly two hours to complete, averaging 10 miles per hour with stops at each intersection to maneuver around road signs and traffic lights. The aircraft's 36-foot wingspan took up both northbound traffic lanes on Bemiss Road and portions of the shoulder and median.
n F-86L Sabre arrives at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., after being transported from downtown Valdosta, Ga., April 25, 2012. Several city and base agencies assisted in the relocation, to include: Moody civil engineer squadron, security forces squadron, crash recovery, Lowndes County and Valdosta Sheriff's Department, and Valdosta utility departments. Varying equipment was used to safely and securely transport the aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Eileen Meier/Released)-
"The 23d Wing welcomes the F-86 relocation for addition to the President George W. Bush Air Park, which pays tribute to the proud history of the Flying Tigers and Moody Air Force Base," said Col. Mark A. Ruse, 23d Mission Support Group commander. "The relocation, restoration and re-dedication will stand as a memorial to Major McIntosh. We worked closely with the McIntosh family and the City of Valdosta to maintain and further build strong ties within our communities."
Restoration of the aircraft is estimated at almost 550 total man hours and just over $6,000 in material costs. This process will include inspections, corrosion removal, metal, structural and canopy repairs and painting.
The aircraft is on loan from the U.S. Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. City of Valdosta and Moody officials worked closely with the museum and the McIntosh family to ensure the move was successful. The McIntosh family will be invited to the re-dedication of the restored aircraft in the air park. The date of the re-dedication ceremony is not yet determined. - Master Sgt. Sonny Cohrs, 23d Wing Public Affairs, FMI: af.mil