Aircraft Displayed In Honor of Local Vietnam Veteran
Just in time for national
remembrance of veterans this Memorial Day, a growing aviation
museum in Tyler, TX unveiled its latest aircraft display on
Saturday in honor of a local man who flew the type over
The Historical Aviation Memorial Museum (HAMM) located at the
Tyler Pounds Field Airport dedicated a North American F-100 Super
Sabre restored and painted in the markings of one flown by Lt. Col
Paul N. Cohagan over the skies of North and South Vietnam in the
Known as the "Hun" by pilots and mechanics, the silver F-100
gleamed on the airport tarmac as a crowd of more than one hundred
veterans and guest gathered to honor the man and the aircraft he
The Tyler Morning Telegraph reports the restoration project was
funded by Lt. Col. Cohagen's daughter, Anne Coleman and the work
was performed by John Mustard, HAMM's maintenance director, and
volunteers Jim Alexander, Bob Strong, Gary Carden, and Tim Spence
in a little over a year. The aircraft came to the museum from
Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX.
The F-100 needed some exterior work before it was ready to go on
display. When the aircraft was repainted, it was given the
markings and symbols associated with Cohagen's aircraft that was
part of the 481st Tactical Fighter Squadron deployed to Tan Son
Nhut Air Base, Vietnam in 1964.
Ms. Coleman made one change to the markings herself, adding a
personal touch to the aircraft by changing the nose decal from the
original that showed a leprechaun lying down to one of a green four
leaf clover as a reminder of the aluminum four leaf clover "good
luck charm" she gave her father at the age of seven before he was
deployed to Vietnam.
The charm served Cohagan well.
First taking flight at the age of 12, Cohagen went on to
graduate from flight school in 1954 and served a 22 year career in
the U.S. Air Force flying most advanced aircraft of the time.
According to Ms. Coleman, her father continued flying after his
career with the Air Force ended. When he passed away in 2005,
Cohagen had spent 61 years as a pilot.
HAMM docent and former F-100 pilot Bill Halbert, called the
"Hun" one of the most advanced fighter jets at the time it was
built. He said around 2,300 F-100 Super Sabres were produced
between 1953 and 1969 and was used by the US Air Force until it's
retirement in 1972. F-100s flew more than 360,000 sorties, more
than any other aircraft in Vietnam but its effectiveness was
hampered by improved enemy defenses later in the war.
Ms. Coleman said seeing and touching the plane has reconnected
her with her fathers memory and as a result, is very emotional when
around the aircraft. She did not speak at the dedication for
"I would have just lost it," she said. "It was great to work
with the people of such a great organization to promote what this
aircraft did and what these soldiers did and continue to do."