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Brasher men obtain A-4 Skyhawk plane for display along St. Regis River

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BRASHER FALLS — Three Brasher natives have reached a milestone in their quest to bring an A-4 Skyhawk to the area for a display that would serve as a tribute to veterans.

David MacMillan, who has been working with James Kelley and Gene Cummings on the project, said the group now has a plane that will be on loan from the U.S. government, and it’s a matter of getting the funding to transport it from Pensacola, Fla., to Northern New York. The group plans to display it on the banks of the St. Regis River, across from the Brasher Municipal Building.

“We have a plane. We’re all elated about it. We’re shooting on June for delivery. We have to get the word out. The big push is on now. We have to come up with about 30 grand,” Mr. MacMillan said.

He said a plane the group was going to get from Tucson, Ariz., would have been more expensive to ship, so it’s cutting costs by getting one from the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola. He said officials have told the group they’ll hold the plane, a two-seater, until it’s ready to be shipped.

He said he planned to speak to several groups about making donations to the “Bringing the A-4 Home” campaign.

“We have probably about 75 contributors to our program. We appreciate it,” Mr. MacMillan said. “Now is the time we have to put the push on. I’m going to tell them we have to have some moolah.”

The organizers had set a goal of $75,000 to land the Vietnam-era plane for display as a tribute to area veterans.

They already had been qualified by the U.S. government for a plane, and engineering plans had to be approved by officials at the Pensacola Naval Air Station before they could get on the list for a plane. Those plans had to indicate how organizers propose to display the plane.

Staff and students at Clarkson University, Potsdam, have been working on the display’s design; Richard E. Maginn, owner of Heritage Homes, Massena, has offered to build the stand and platform based on the architectural renderings by Clarkson students, and Hassan A. Fayad, Massena, offered his engineering expertise and stamped and certified the plans before they were sent to Pensacola.

The three local organizers are working on the project with Munson “Sid” Snedeker, another Brasher Falls native and a 1954 graduate of Massena High School, who spent his career in the Marine Corps before retiring as a lieutenant colonel in October 1981. Mr. Snedeker and his wife, Ginger, own and operate G&S Warbirds, which can help individuals or groups locate planes and find someone to ferry them to another location.

The plane would be dismantled, shipped in a truck and then readied by the men for display. It is 36 feet long and weighs between 6,000 and 10,000 pounds, with no engine.

The A-4 Skyhawk was a carrier-capable ground-attack aircraft developed for the Navy and Marine Corps. It was capable of delivering nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system and played a key role in the Vietnam War. The effort’s organizers said they chose that plane because of its smaller size.

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