Edwardsville in Madison County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
A-7E Corsair II
Bureau Number 159303
(first part shown as a timeline:)
1965 - First flying in September of 1965, the A-7 Corsair II, replaced the A-4 Skyhawk as Naval Aviation's front line light attack aircraft. The multi-mission A-7E Corsair II was unparalleled in its ability to perform the many roles of which it was tasked. In its prime the A-7E was unequaled in the area of precision ordinance delivery and was also frequently called upon in the areas of surface search and surveillance, inflight refueling, air superiority, mining, and close air support.
1974 - February 1974 The A-7E Corsair II displayed here, began its career in February of 1974 as part of the VA-82 Marauders Squadron. IN 1975 the Marauders deployed aboard the USS Nimitz on her maiden cruise.
1979 - During the VA-82's deployment in September 1979, the USS Nimitz was dispatched to the Indian Ocean area as tensions heightened over Iran's taking of 52 U.S. hostages. Four months later, Operation Evening Light was launched from Nimitz in an attempt to rescue the hostages. The rescue was aborted in the Iranian desert when the number of operational helicopters fell below the
1981 - Until May of 1981, our aircraft operated off the Nimitz. In June of 1981, it joined the VA-37 Ragin' Bulls on the USS John F. Kennedy, off the coast of Lebanon after the Israeli invasion until February 1982.
1982 - In September of 1982, the A-7E was deployed with the VA-105 Gunslingers squadron before being reassigned to the VA-83 Rampagers in February of 1983.
1985 - During 1985, the A-7E was deployment to the USS Saratoga, where it supported operations in the Indian Ocean as well as operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Operation El Dorado Canyon against Libya. Squadron aircraft fired AGM-88 HARMs against a Libyan missile radar site, marking the first use of that missile in combat.
1988 - Following its final mission flight with the Rampagers in 1988, the A-7E transitioned to a training aircraft at the Naval Strike Warfare Center (now the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center) in Fallon, Nevada, where it remained until April of 1991.
1991 - In April of 1991, the A-7E was assigned to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. Following a concerted effort from then Township Supervisor, Robert C. Stille, the A-7E was loaned to Edwardsville Township from the National Naval Aviation Museum for display purposes. The aircraft arrived in May of 1991 by helicopter and has been proudly displayed ever since, inspiring the unofficial moniker of "Airplane Park".
2017 - Edwardsville Township launches mission preservation: The Campaign To Restore the Plane to raise funds for the restoration of the aircraft and engages the Flight Deck Veterans Group, a national non-profit veterans organization. The aircraft was restored using a vinyl wrap, becoming the first aircraft to be restored in this manner.
The Markings of the Plane
The A-7E has been restored to its original flight condition.
The aircraft bears the markings of its first squadron, the VA-82 Marauders as they were while deployed with the USS Nimitz. The Marauders were a U.S. Navy strike force established in 1967 and deactivated in 2005.
The number 303 is the modex number assigned to the aircraft. This number is part of the aircraft visual identification system along with the tail code. Carrier-based units, like the VA-82 Marauders, use three digit numbers that identify the squadron's mission and the specific aircraft within a squadron. These numbers are painted on the aircraft's nose and on the fin tip.
The AJ Tail Code on the corsair identifies the carrier air wing group that VA-82 was a part of aboard the USS Nimitz. These markings help identify the aircraft's unit assignment and are codes comprised of two letters or digits painted on both sides of the vertical stabilizer and the top right and bottom left wings.
The bureau number is a term for the identifying number assigned to naval aircraft. This number is specific to individual aircraft and does not change as the aircraft moves between squadrons or deployments.
The tail wing features an emblem of an eagle with a ribbon in its beak, a symbolic representation of the squadron.
Erected 2017 by Edwardsville Township and Flight Deck Veterans Group.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Air & Space • Parks & Recreational Areas • War, Vietnam.
Location. 38° 47.083′ N, 89° 57.905′ W. Marker is in Edwardsville, Illinois, in Madison County. Marker can be reached from Center Grove Road east of Esic Drive. Marker is located at Edwardsville Township Community Park, also known as "Airplane Park". Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6368 Center Grove Road, Edwardsville IL 62025, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Goshen Road Terminus (approx. 0.9 miles away); Bethel Meetinghouse (approx. one mile away); LeClaire, Illinois (approx. 1.6 miles away); Edwardsville, Illinois (approx. 1.6 miles away); Benjamin Stephenson House (approx. 1.7 miles away); The Madison County Poor Farm (approx. 1.7 miles away); Ninian Edwards (approx. 1.8 miles away); First Cemetery in the City of Edwardsville (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Edwardsville.
Also see . . . LTV A-7 Corsair II on Wikipedia. The A-7E Corsair II shown at Edwardsville Township Park is one of only 25+ surviving of its kind that is on display throughout the United States. (Submitted on July 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.)
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 24, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 47 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on July 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.