Phantom Jet Restoration Gets Underway

July 25, 2022

Jul. 22—Restoration efforts on the RF-4C Phantom II Jet erected in the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park kicked off this week with pressure washing, sanding and sealing.

Jeff Summerlin, President of East Mississippi Veterans Foundation, said the jet would be fully restored using the same color scheme it bore when it was retired from Key Field in 1991.

"The aircraft will be repainted in its former gray color scheme with appropriate aircraft markings as it was when the jet departed Meridian on September 9, 1991 for retirement to the Boneyard," he said.

The restoration effort, which is being done by Ponsford LTD out of Acworth, Georgia, is expected to take about 10-15 days to complete, Summerlin said. In addition to painting the aircraft, he said the plane would also be sealed against animals and birds that may try to find their way inside.

As a special tribute, Summerlin said the names of four Meridian aircrew members who died in training accidents with the Phantom would be inscribed on the canopy rails on either side of the jet.

"As a special honor and memorial to four aircrew members who lost their lives in training accidents during the Phantoms service with Meridian's Air Guard unit, their names will be placed on the canopy rails on either side of Meridian's Jet," he said.

Once the restoration work is complete, work is expected to begin constructing a sidewalk, landscaping and signage around the static aircraft display, Summerlin said. A formal dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting for the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park is scheduled for Sept. 27.

"More details about this event will be forthcoming," he said.

For more information about the East Mississippi Veterans Memorial Park or how to get involved, visit


(c)2022 The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.)

Visit The Meridian Star (Meridian, Miss.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.