A Solley ground crew signals directions to a helicopter pilot overhead as he lowers a T34 Navy trainer to its pad in the Morgan County Veterans Memorial Park on Sunday morning. | Clif Knight

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Navy plane joins tank at veterans memorial

Published 12:13pm Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A T34 Mantor jet plane has joined the M60 A1 Army tank at the Morgan County Veterans Memorial Park.

The 2,960-lb. orange and blue trainer was airlifted by a Solley helicopter from Prior Field early Sunday morning and anchored on a 16 by 20 ft. concrete pad, just north of the Highway 67 right-of-way. It was flown in from the Naval Air Base in Pensacola, Fla. several weeks ago and went through a decommissioning process while at Pryor Field.

Town Councilman Tommy Perry supervised the operation with the assistance of a Solley ground crew and street department employees. Police officers and fire fighters were also involved.

American Legionnaires George R. Krigbaum, senior state vice commander and Bob Stricklin, 12th district commander, were among about 25 people who witnessed the arrival of the plane.

Perry said procurement of the jet followed a two to three-month process.

“It’s on loan from the Navy Department,” he said, “and we’re responsible for its upkeep.” We’ll have to show with photographs that it’s in good condition on an annual basis.”

The park is on a track for completion in time for a grand opening on next Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

“We’re on schedule,” Perry said. “Landscaping will be done this week and the monuments will be installed the last week of this month.”

The park will have a fallen soldier monument and five U.S. Armed Forces black granite memorials that will contain the names of all Morgan County residents killed in past wars.

Markers will also recognize the Purple Heart, POW/MIA and the Blue Star/Gold Star Mothers.

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