Historic F-4 Phantom fighter arrives in Orlando to serve as Vietnam vet tribute

ORLANDO, Fla. — A historic F-4 Phantom fighter jet used in the Vietnam War arrived in Orlando Tuesday.

The fighter jet will be restored and used as a centerpiece in Joe Kittinger Park. U.S. Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger is a legendary pilot and a former POW.

A convoy carrying the plane's parts made its way through the streets of Orlando. It will serve as a tribute to Vietnam veterans.

"It was used exclusively during the Vietnam war and anyone who was in Vietnam is going to remember this airplane, because this is the airplane that they saw most frequently," Kittinger said.

The plane was brought from Texas on two flatbed tractor-trailers. It will be reassembled and mounted on a pedestal at the east end of South Street at the park.

Kittinger told WFTV he's proud to have his fighter jet dedicated as a memorial to the lives of hundreds of central Floridians who died in Vietnam.

"There were 333 people from central florida that died during Vietnam. So this is respect for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice," Kittinger said.

The restoration will cost about $100,000 to restore and mount it.

"I've got a wonderful group of volunteers here in Orlando that are engineers and technicians that are helping with the project. We still have some fund raising, we haven't raised enough money yet for the project," Kittinger said.

Much of that money will be raised beginning on Labor Day at a new event called Vet Fest in downtown Orlando.