Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

April 28, 2013

Memorial jet unveiled at new location

VALDOSTA — After a 13-mile trip and hundreds of hours of repair work, a fallen hero’s family and military personnel unveiled the memorial F-86 Sabre Saturday morning at its new home in Moody Air Force Base’s George W. Bush Airpark.

On loan from the U.S. Air Force Museum, the F-86 had rested at the corner of North Ashley Street and Woodrow Wilson Drive since the early 1960s. The jet was later dedicated to the memory of Major Lyn McIntosh, after the pilot perished in an attempt to free captives during the Iran Hostage Crisis in the early ‘80s. Moody personnel removed the plane from the Ashley-Woodrow Wilson site a year ago.

During Saturday’s ceremony at the airpark, Col. Billy Thompson said he believed that the jet had finally landed right where it should be.

“There were those in the community that felt moving the memorial would be removing it from public view,” said Thompson. “But it was obvious to us that the only way that we were going to be able to preserve this important piece of history was for us to relocate it. Personally, I think it was especially fitting that we brought it here. Maj. McIntosh grew up in Valdosta, went to school in Valdosta, taught school in Valdosta and then he joined our Air Force.”

McIntosh’s son, Mark, was pleased with the amount of care and respect that has gone into preserving his father’s legacy.

“I wouldn’t choose one place over the other, but it gives me great pleasure that the Air Force is able to take care of it and preserve it in the state that it should be in,” said Mark. “But even more so that they’re honoring someone who gave his life for his countrymen and his community. There’s a recurring theme that we hear whenever someone in the special operations community or the rescue wing doesn’t make it. No greater love has no man than he does when he lays down his life for his country.”

The major’s love for flying was fueled by his father’s Air Force career, Mark said, and his physics course work in college may have been the last bit of motivation he needed before finally  joining the Air Force. Mark said his father learned fast, and the military appreciated his elite skills.

“He loved being in special ops, which is what he received from the day he went in there and what he ultimately gave his life for,” said Mark. “He and the others on that mission volunteered their lives for those 52 hostages. They weren’t forced or told to go. They were asked to volunteer and they did, not knowing what it was going to bring. They all volunteered their lives for 52 other people they had never met. That’s a true honor for anyone, to give their own life so that others may live.”

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