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Construction of Vance's air park nears completion

The BT-13 Valiant recieves its primer coat of paint. [US Air Force Photo]

The BT-13 Valiant recieves its primer coat of paint. [US Air Force Photo]

Vance Air Force Base, Okla -- -- The citizens of Enid, Okla., will get a close-up view of aircraft from Vance AFB's past when an air park outside the main gate is completed.

The air park, due for completion in November, will display five training aircraft that Vance has used to train more than 31,000 pilots since 1941.

The aircraft will include the BT-13 Valiant, T-6 Texan 1, T-41 Mescalero, T-33 Shooting Star and T-28 Trojan. The aircraft are currently located on the flightline being repaired and painted by Vance maintenance technicians.

"We conducted extensive research, in coordination with the AETC History office, to ensure the historical accuracy of the airplanes markings. We look at everything from old newspaper articles to air force records from the time period in which the plane flew here at Vance AFB. " says Master Sgt. Markus Schnellhammer, the Historic Property Custodian.

Construction of the lighted concrete pads where the aircraft will be displayed is scheduled for completion by the end of August.

The air park will include a memorial to Vance AFB's namesake and Enid native, Lt. Col. Leon Vance, recipient of the Medal of Honor during World War II.

Although the aircraft are supposed to finish being painted in October, some delays such as weather and underlying damage hidden by the current paint layer, could possibly delay the completion process.