Renovating History: Moody AFB Airmen renew beloved static display

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Benjamin Williams, Jessica Catlett Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from Moody Air Force Base’s 23rd Maintenance Group were recognized by Col. Michael Gallagher, 23rd Mission Support Group commander, June 18, 2024, for spearheading a two-month renovation project of an F-16 Fighting Falcon static display at Freedom Park, Valdosta, Georgia.

Serving as an unofficial mascot for veterans and residents of Valdosta, the newly renovated static display has been transformed thanks to community ties through the Leadership Lowndes program and efforts of Airmen from the 23rd MXG, 23rd Logistics Readiness Squadron and Moody’s base historian.

“The Airmen involved in the renovation of the F-16 static display took pride in making the aircraft and Moody AFB look good,” said Mark “Radio” Godwin, 23rd Wing historian. “It also serves as a kind gesture to the city of Valdosta. Getting that F-16 all prettied up pays homage and respect to the original 347th Fighter Group.”

This project with the Valdosta-Lowndes County Parks & Recreation Authority (VLPRA) not only serves as a pillar of respect toward the men and women that previously served at Moody AFB, but it also highlights the supportive relationship between the military installation and the surrounding communities – emphasizing the care Airmen and civilians currently assigned to the base have for the upkeep and historic image of Valdosta.

“We are thankful for this partnership with Moody Air Force Base and sincerely appreciate the hard work of all the dedicated Airmen who contributed to the project. Their craftsmanship and artistry are truly remarkable,” said George Page, VLPRA executive director. “Thousands of people come here each week, both residents and visitors from around the country traveling for tournaments – this beautiful F-16 is the first thing they see when they enter Freedom Park, and it is the perfect way to welcome them.”

The renovation of the static display not only highlights service member’s individual dedication to pride in heritage but also embodies the collective value of history that defines Moody today, making evident the commitment to the spirit and tradition of the Flying Tigers, Gallagher expressed as he recognized the much-needed renovations.

“Being an aviator in the past, having a maintainer that is passionate about what they're doing makes you feel pretty good about the aircraft you're about to walk onto – today, that was in full display,” he said. “Their talents matter; they did a fantastic job.”