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Airplane not airplane after all

We’ve all seen it, driven by it, glanced at it, or maybe even taken a picture of it.

 This landmark sits high on the corner of Ashley Street and shares a space with Mathis City Auditorium. It’s grey and blue with wings of steel ready to take flight.

 Yes, folks I am referring to that glorious artifact. The plane.

 If you’ve ever wondered about the meaning of this symbolic relic, then wonder no more!

 As it turns out, the plane is not really a plane at all.

 Some residents have drawn their own conclusions, whereas, others, did not have a great interest in this familiar landmark.

 Residents of Valdosta have their own theories.

 “I have never really thought about it or its meaning,” Ashley Stewart, a freshmen sociology major, said. 

 Thomas Hightower, a college junior, said that he thought the plane signified the very first barricade to enter Georgia, the first flight of Moody Air Force Base.  

 Truth is, the display is not really a plane. It is simply a stock display.

 Bummer? Not quite.   According to Donald Davis of the Valdosta Historical Society, the plane was placed there as a memorial to the family of Lyn McIntosh.

 “I used to be neighbors with his family,” Davis said. “Lyn McIntosh was a soldier stationed at Moody Air Force Base. He died attempting to free hostages during the Iranian embassy in 1980; we call it The McIntosh Plane.”

 The plane honors McIntosh’s service to the Air Force.

 There is a plaque located just in front of the plane encrypted with the deceased hero’s information, his date of birth and death date.

 The plane was not always located at the familiar intersection of Ashley and Woodrow Wilson Drive.

 In the early 50’s, it used to be housed in the yard of the old Coca-Cola plant on Ashley Street.

 “They moved it to the auditorium after Lyn died,” Davis said.

 According to Davis there are further plans to move the plane. The location of the memorial is expected to change to Moody Air Force Base to be viewed and honored by fellow airmen.

 The base is expecting to open an airplane museum and hopes to include this memorial as a significant piece of Valdosta history.  

 So next time you’re driving by why not stop and take a gander at Valdosta’s very own “McIntosh Plane.”

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