Flying by in Minnesota
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Special thanks to the City of Proctor, MN for their assistance with this article.
Cruising through northern Minnesota on our way home from our three-month inaugural road trip a while back, we noticed this vintage fighter jet quickly emerging from over the tree line as we drove along U.S. Highway 2. Except it wasn’t flying towards us. Actually, it wasn’t flying at all.
The jet—a (real) retired Cold War era F-101 Voodoo—is a memorial to Captain Sherman L. Gonyea and Captain James L. Verville of the Minnesota Air National Guard, who perished when their own F-101 was lost on December 17, 1971. This memorial also honors “All National Guardsmen who have given their lives that this great privilege will remain forever secure.”
This F-101 has a permanent home on the grounds of the city’s golf course, which is open to the public. A fitting tribute from the hometown of these men, the golf course also hosts a tournament each year in their honor. They will not be forgotten.
The nearby Community Center (100 Pionk Drive) has plenty of parking located at the bottom of the hill from the golf course, plus additional spots are at the nearby museum.
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