All Aviation Enthusiasts!
Aviation Heritage Park
at Basil Griffin Park on Three Springs Road was instigated by
the arrival of a special, retired airplane. Phantom 550, an F4-D
Phantom II flown by Bowling Green native Dan Cherry, retired Brigadier
General of the United States Air Force, shot down a North Vietnamese
MIG-21 fighter in a combat mission during the Vietnam War in 1972.
He flew 295 missions, and also commanded the Air Force Thunderbirds.
During a visit to the
National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, General Cherry learned the jet was grounded and
on display at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) hall in Enon,
Ohio and went to observe. After speaking to and arranging with
the local VFW, the plane was disassembled to prepare for the journey
to Bowling Green where it will help honor local military aviators.
Along with General
Cherry, several more of America's finest aviators from this area
will be honored. Bert Hall, one of America's first combat aviators;
Victor Strahm, Kentucky's first WWI Flying Ace; Johnny Magda,
commander of the Navy Blue Angels; and Ken Fleener, a retired
Brigadier General. Currently a Panther is being restored and will
soon join the Phantom at the Park. The Panther is in honor of
The park is an ongoing
project. Eventually the Aviation Heritage Park will host several
different airplanes. The park is designed and constructed to include
a landscaped area that accommodates up to six more planes. The
Phantom 550 has been painted its original green and brown Vietnam
Era colors to showcase the plane.
Click on "Site
Plans" to see what's in store for the park. Visit "How
to Help" for information on what you can do to volunteer
or donate funds.
On April 16, 1972,
Major Dan Cherry, with Captain Jeff Feinstein of the 13th Tactical
Fighter Squadron, in F-4D 66-7550, shot down a MIG-21 of the North
Vietnamese Air Force. The painting is by world-renowned Aviation
artist, Lou Drendel. Limited edition lithograph prints are available
signed by the artist as well as Dan and Jeff.