In the early 1980s, I was assigned to the U.S. Navy’s Attack Squadron 83 (VA-83) home-ported in Jacksonville, Florida, and deploying aboard the USS Forrestal (CV-59). Nearly 40 years later, I feel a great sense of pride that an A-7E Corsair II will soon grace Veterans Memorial Park. You see, VA-83 flew the A-7E.

The A-7 was hardly the most advanced or aesthetically pleasing aircraft in the Navy’s arsenal. Its “face” looked like a large-mouth bass about to strike. It was nearing the end of its solid operational life (as was the Forrestal) during my time in VA-83. It had flown countless ground-support sorties in Vietnam for both the Navy and Air Force.

After my second Med cruise and subsequent reassignment to a new duty station, VA-83 began to transition to the new, more advanced F/A-18. Nevertheless, my squadron mates and I were always fiercely loyal to our squadron and our ship.

So, yes, I feel a great sense of pride that my home town will soon have a direct connection to the familiar aircraft my squadron flew during my time in the fleet. I doubt I am the only Lewiston-Auburn veteran who served in an A-7 unit, but I would love to see my old squadron’s colors grace the newest memorial to veterans.

Barring that, the honor should go to another L/A veteran’s old A-7 unit to give it an even more meaningful connection to the area.

Regardless, I will be thrilled to see one again.

Andrew Hall, Lewiston

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