TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — The grounds at Indiana State University’s Memorial Stadium will soon be the final resting place of four retired military planes from the 181st Intelligence Wing as part of a new Military Park.
“It’s really all about heritage, right,” Colonel Charles Goad of the 181st Intelligence Wing said. “Heritage and legacy. This unit has done great things for the world through all the various missions that it’s had, flying and not flying now. This is just a way to mark that and to show appreciation to the community and put a piece of us into the community.”
The military park will be known as ‘Racer Air Park.’
“The plan is to make it look like a small runway. You know, where everything looks like a taxiway. And placards, and you know it will be a part of the whole experience when you go out there. Yes, some benches and those types of things for the whole community,” Goad said.
The location of ISU’s Memorial Stadium is an easy choice.
“Already, that’s (Memorial Stadium) designated as a Veteran’s area around the stadium there,” Rick Burger, District Manager of Duke Energy said. “This will just add more. There’s other plans for other things.”
The planes that will be on display, were all once a part of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard, located right here in Terre Haute.
“They’re all our tail flashes. It’s a heritage piece, it’s a really cool thing,” Goad said.
Since the old planes are no longer part of the 181st Intelligence Wings Mission, a committee of community partners was established.
“This is the very beginning, where we’re going to pick the aircraft up and we’re going to move it into a hanger, so we can actually refurbish the aircraft,” Goad said. “They need all new paint; they may need some new materials.”
The committee will rely on donations, grants, and volunteers. With an initial investment of $10,000 from Duke Energy, a match from Center Point Energy, and donations from Lowes, movement on the park has begun.
“This is just a way; we feel like we can give back,” Burger said. “Bring some life back to some planes, that in my opinion, fought the freedom for us, to have the freedom we have today. Recognize the veterans and the men and women that serve today too, in the armed forces.”
The 181st Intelligence Wing is thankful to the city and the county for the use of land and to those who are stepping up. Committee members said they are still fundraising as they expect the total cost to come in around $200,000
“My challenge, from Duke Energy, As Center Point Energy stepped up, I would encourage other businesses to give.”
To donate, Burger suggested contacting the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce.
Goad said they hope to finish projects and open Racer Air Park by next Memorial Day