Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pilot's name to be added to airplane exhibit • A7 Corsair flew from an aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean in 1975

When the restored U.S. Navy A7 Corsair is hoisted back into place soon at the entrance to  Edwardsville Township Park, the name of the pilot who flew it decades ago will be added to the rail.

Timothy J. Keating retired from the U.S. Navy in 2009 following 38 years of service that included stints as commander of the U.S. 5th Fleet, the U.S. Northern Command and NORAD, and U.S. Pacific Command.

But in 1975 he flew the A7 Corsair during two separate missions to the Mediterranean Sea aboard the U.S.S.  Nimitz. Keating was a pilot with the aircraft squadron’s VFA-82.

Having Keating’s name added to the Corsair’s rails could bring national attention to the township’s Corsair restoration project, Edwardsville Township Supervisor Frank Miles said recently.

Miles said permission to add Keating’s name came from the National Naval Aviation Museum, in Pensacola, Fla.

The plane has been on the ground since May. Since then volunteers have scrubbed it, replaced corroded panels, enclosed the air intake vents and bomb racks, and sealed the seams, Miles said.

The township also has plans to create a veteran’s monument around the base of the A7 Corsair. The idea, Miles said, is to honor the military heritage of township residents who have served or who are currently serving in all branches of the military. 

“The monument will become a place in the community to show our respect and honor the military heritage of those who have served our country,” Miles said. “We foresee hosting Memorial and Veterans Day activities at the monument in addition to partnering with District 7 schools to offer educational opportunities for students.”

The monument, he added, would also provide “a unique opportunity to partner with local military recruiters as a location to commemorate the decision of District 7 students who chose to volunteer for service in a branch of the Armed Forces.” The location might also be used for other military milestones such as hometown promotions and retirement ceremonies for Edwardsville Township residents who choose to commemorate those milestones in their hometown area.

Edwardsville Township will also be designing challenge coins. The coins will feature the Edwardsville Township logo on one side. On the flip side will be an image of the restored Corsair plane along with an image of the VFA-82 Marauders, the attack squadron the A7 Corsair was first assigned to on the U.S.S. Nimitz.

A re-dedication ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 13. 

The restoration work is scheduled to be finished by the end of October. 

The aircraft will be the first to be restored with a vinyl wrap. The wrap was produced specifically for the Corsair plane by the 3M Company.

Miles said the wrap, which is easily maintained with just soap and water, will seal the aircraft completely to prevent water and corrosion damage. It also eliminates the costly application of military grade-paint, which must be applied every five years. 

Original article can be found here ➤ http://www.theintelligencer.com

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