A memorial to all distinguished aviators who have called South Central
Kentucky home. Aviation Heritage Park currently features a F-4D Phantom
II, a F9F-5 Panther, a T-33 Shooting Star, an F-111 Aardvark, and a
NASA T-38 Talon, all with very interesting stories to tell.
General Dan Cherry, a Bowling Green native, downed a North
Vietnamese MiG-21 while at the controls of the actual Phantom on display
at the Park. Flying a Panther jet similar to the displayed F9F-5,
Commander Johnny Magda, a graduate of WKU, commanded the famed Navy Blue
Angels in 1950.
The T-33 Shooting Star honors Glasgow native General
Russ Dougherty who flew more than 70 types of aircraft and commanded the
Strategic Air Command during the Cold War. The recently restored USAF
F-111 was part of the 1986 raid on Libya and honors Bowling Green native
Col. Arnie Franklin who was selected to lead the USAF portion of the
raid. This "Warhorse" also dropped the last bomb on the last night of
the Desert Storm War.
The newest addition, the NASA T-38 Talon,
is one of only 12 on public display. It was the world’s first supersonic
trainer primarily used by the USAF
before NASA astronauts began using them for necessary travel and as
chase planes. This T-38 will be on display in honor of local astronaut
Terry Wilcutt who was born in Russellville, KY and is a Western KY
The displays are free to view and open daily from dawn to
dusk at the entrance of Basil Griffin Park. Tune your radio to the
designated station to hear a broadcast sharing more information.