Aviation Heritage Park

Regional
9:40 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Bowling Green Set to Become Home to Plane, Piloted by WKU Grad, that Raided Libya in 1986

Arnie Franklin (WKU '66), standing next to an F-111 that took part in the 1986 U.S. air raid on Libya
Credit Kevin Willis

WKU graduate Arnie Franklin discusses the 1986 air raid on Libya, and the addition of an F-111 to the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green.

An airplane with an amazing local connection will make its public debut at the Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park on Saturday, June 8. The F-111 joining the park took part in the 1986 U.S. air raid against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya—a raid led by a WKU graduate and native of south-central Kentucky.

Sitting in a hangar near the Bowling Green Regional Airport is a plane known  as the “Warhorse” because of its many years of service. If you didn’t know any better, you might assume this relic from the military’s not-too-distant past could take off and fly right now.

Not having an engine keeps this bird on the ground, but it sure looks nice.

For Arnie Franklin, seeing this F-111 look just the way it did back in 1986 brings forward a flood of memories.

“It brings all of those emotions that I remember from that mission back to the forefront, and even though it was 27 years ago, in a lot of ways it seems like it was yesterday," Franklin told WKU Public Radio.

This is the story of a Kentucky pilot, a war plane, and a mission.

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