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Local Modeler’s Club Donates Military Aircraft to NPS
U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya

Local Modeler’s Club Donates Military Aircraft to NPS

By Javier Chagoya

Members of NPS’ aviation community turned out for the donation ceremony of two military aircraft models in the Dudley Knox Library, July 27. The 1/48-scale models of an F4U-4 Corsair and an F4 Phantom were built by gifted artist, and member of the Central Coast-Monterey Bay Chapter of the International Plastic Modelers Society (IPMS), Adrian Garza.

Garza, who passed away August 22, 2017, would have been honored by his club’s decision to donate the two models to NPS. And to their credit, the staff of Dudley Knox Library quickly put together an exhibit befitting of any top-notch aviation museum. Each of the models are exhibited in protective plexiglass cases with full descriptions, including squadron history photos and illustrations.

Garza was well known as a meticulous modeler, and it shows in every detail of the construction of the aircraft. According to his fellow modelers, Garza would research the history of the aircraft, their color schemes, and track specific Bureau Numbers (BUNO) of the aircraft he built. No detail was too small according to his friends, who cited that he would include airframe modifications that were made in the actual interior of the aircraft.

The aircraft – a 1952 Vought F4U-4 Corsair assigned to the Marine Fighter Training Squadron 20 (VMFT-20), and a 1972 McDonnell Douglas F-4J Phantom II assigned to Fighter Squadron 84 (VF-84) – would impress even the non-aviation enthusiast.

“Although Garza never served in the military, he showed his patriotism in other ways by reaching a level of excellence and artistry in everything he did, and he had the greatest respect for our military,” said IPMS Chapter President Lester Tockerman.

“The idea to donate the planes was a club idea, made after his [Adrian’s] passing. We wanted to give something of his to people that would appreciate and honor his work,” Tockerman added.

The connection to NPS came by way of the modeler’s club’s newsletter editor, Ramon Lomeli and his wife, who are good friends with Graduate School of Business and Public Policy (GSBPP) Associate Professor Susan Hocevar.

The conversation for the donation began with Hocevar, and she thought it would be a great way to have the models available for people to enjoy, especially the aviation community. She and GSBPP colleague Terry Rea did the leg work to have the models passed onto the institution through the Dudley Knox Library archive.

The addition of these aircraft will be shared with a display of two other military aircraft models suspended from the ceiling in the library’s open study area.


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