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Chandler’s Korean War-era plane moving to new veterans memorial

By Elliott Polakoff

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    CHANDLER, Arizona (KTVK, KPHO) — It’s been a part of Chandler history for 60 years, but a Korean warplane is now on the move. For decades, the plane has been located at the intersection of Chandler Boulevard and Delaware Street, but it will now be located at Veterans Oasis Park in Chandler.

“How often do you get to see a fighter jet on the flatbed truck moving through the streets of Chandler, Arizona?” Chandler Museum Collections Coordinator Nate Meyers asked.

This decommissioned F-86D Sabre Dog Korean warplane has been at the Chandler Boulevard and Delaware Street location since 1985, when it moved from its original location at Dr. A.J. Chandler Park.

“It was first put here in downtown Chandler to commemorate the city of Chandler and nearby Williams Air Force Base,” Meyers said.

Meyers says that the plane was a major part of the Air Force between 1951 and 1961. It’s a single-pilot fighter jet that could fire 24 self-guided rockets.

“You can see the nose cone on that plane; it’s a black nose cone,” Meyers said. “And hidden in there was radar which would help with its targeting and guidance. And then, on top of that, the F86-D was very fast. It set several speed records and topped out at 715 miles per hour.”

It will be going a lot slower than that on its way to Veterans Oasis Park to be the centerpiece of a new veterans memorial.

“I mean, it’s been a part of our community for 60 years, and it’ll continue to be an important part of the community,” Meyers said. “It honors our veterans and the sacrifices they’ve given to make our community, our state, and our country a safe place.”

Once it gets to its new location, it’ll be restored. “We’ll kind of buff it up, shine it, and repaint it,” Meyers said. “It’ll be repainted the way it would have looked in 1961 when it was first placed here in Chandler.”

The plane will officially be unveiled at Veterans Oasis Park at a special ceremony on Veterans Day, November 11th.

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