A Boeing CH-47F Chinook assigned to the Iowa Army National Guard’s (ARNG’s) Company B, 171st Aviation Regiment (AVN) recently delivered a historic Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star fighter from its static display at the Iowa state headquarters in Des Moines to the Air National Guard (ANG) paint facility in Sioux City, where it will be repainted.
The Chinook (serial 10-08817) was responsible for safely delivering the F-80 Shooting Star to the ANG paint facility on September 15, providing 171st AVN crews with an opportunity to practice real-world, sling-load aircraft recovery methods – an important part of the CH-47’s mission set. Staff Sgt Jesse Ayala, a CH-47 flight engineer, said: “What we did today was great practice for the real-world mission we have to do. In a real-world mission it could save lives and equipment.”
The F-80 Shooting Star was the first jet-powered aircraft to enter operational service with the US Army Air Force (USAAF) – the precursor to the US Air Force (USAF) – at the end of World War Two in the mid-1940s. The example being airlifted to the ANG paint facility in Sioux City was on display painted in the markings of the 174th Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS), the predecessor to today’s 185th Air Refueling Wing (ARW) – which is based at Colonel Bud Day Field (or Sioux ANG Base), co-located at the Sioux Gateway Airport in western Iowa.
After it has been repainted, the F-80 will be returned to static display at Camp Dodge, located in Johnston, Iowa, where it will be preserved to educate visitors on the history of the Iowa National Guard. When it was activated in the early 1950s, the 174th FIS was equipped with the Republic F-84 Thunderjet and its airmen and aircraft had been dispersed across Europe and the Korean peninsula. Upon the unit’s return to Sioux City, it was re-equipped with the F-80C to maintain pilot currencies until it converted to the F-84E Thunderstreak in 1955. The F-80 was retired from operational USAF service in 1959.