JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J —
Members of the Navy Lakehurst Historical Society and joint base leaders unveiled a newly restored A-4 Skyhawk at Hangar 1 on the Lakehurst side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Nov. 29, 2018.
One of about 2,500 A-4s produced by the U.S., the new addition to Lakehurst’s aircraft displays saw a majority of its combat during the Vietnam War.
“The A-4 did its lion’s share dropping bombs in Vietnam,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Muhammad Khan, Naval Support Activity-Lakehurst commander and Joint Base MDL deputy commander. “Unfortunately, it was also the first aircraft shot down. Everett Alvarez Jr., an A-4 pilot, was the first American [prisoner of war] in the Vietnam War.”
Prior to refurbishment, the aircraft sat in Hangar 1 for some time. The paint was badly rusted, the aircraft had parts missing and lacked a classic unit insignia.
The eight-month process of refurbishment included restorative maintenance, painting and graphic design. The NLHS manufactured a missing piece for the aircraft’s landing gear and emblazoned the historical unit insignia on the side of the aircraft next to
“To all who volunteered, thank you very much,” said Carl Jablonski NLHS president. “The team did a fantastic job with this aircraft.”
Following the reveal, the newest static display was planted in its permanent home where it can be viewed by anyone travelling through the Lakehurst side of the installation.
“It’s a big victory that we are recognized for what we do,” Jablonski. “It means a lot that we are able to do it with volunteers that are doing it to preserve history of Joint Base MDL.”
Lauding the work of the NLHS on the new attack aircraft display, Khan joked that attack pilots make history and fighter pilots make movies.
Last year, the NLHS restored an A-7 Corsair II and with this year’s unveiling of the A-4, the NLHS is now currently working to restore another attack aircraft.