Sumter, SC (WLTX) -- The F-111 Aardvark was thought to be a failure and embarrassment of the Department of Defense, now after 40 years, it is being celebrated at Shaw Air Force Base.
The F-111 first entered service in the mid-1960s, in Vietnam and most recently in Desert Storm, one of the men who flew the actual plane being dedicated was at the ceremony on Wednesday.
Retired Colonel William Hoge first flew the F-111 38-years ago, Hoge was the featured speaker at the ceremony at the airbase.
According to Hoge, "It is a special place, this one having flown it and being very fortunate in my Air Force career, not only do they see this airplane, but I actually flew the airplane right behind you and the airplanes across the street, this is a special air park to me and this is a very special place in it."
Hoge was joined by many others who flew the F-111s as well as many who were apart of the grounds crews that serviced the plane.
Retired Staff Sergeant Thomas Mitchell was one the airmen who worked on the F-111, he says it was a scary plane to the enemy.
"This was a very intimidating aircraft, I know the Russians didn't like it, so I just can't imagine what the Iraqis were thinking when they popped over the hill coming after them as well," according to Mitchell.
Hoge said, "This is a symbol of strength because of the technology that was well before its time, the swing wing airplane, the capsule, the radars, all of the ability that this airplane exhibited was the American technology at the forefront"
Now the F-111 is on display for everyone who enters the gates at Shaw for everyone to enjoy and admire the power of the fighter.
The fighter came to Shaw in February and it took about 5-months to prepare the plane for display, this included reassembly and repainting the air craft.