Gen. James F. Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, unveiled a restored F/A-18 Hornet in dedication to recent Medal of Honor recipients during a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Nov. 2.
It took nearly two months of planning for Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101 to design and restore the F/A-18. VMFAT-101 specially painted the aircraft with the names of recent Medal of Honor recipients, Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, a Scio, N.Y., native, Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Greensburg, Ken., native, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor, a Long Beach, Calif., native and Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Smithtown, N.Y., native., for the ceremony.
“I’ve repainted many planes in the past, but they’re all gray,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Cudnohufsky, the staff noncommissioned officer for corrosion control with VMFAT-101. “To have a show bird is something you don’t get to do very often. It’s fun to be a part of.”
During the dedication ceremony, each Medal of Honor recipient’s citation was read and a Missing Man Formation was flown overhead.
Amos, and Lt. Col. Robert B. Brodie, the commanding officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 101, flew the Hornet during the formation.
After the flight, the commandant of the Marine Corps gave a speech about the Medal of Honor recipients and met with Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor’s family.
“The moms and dads today and the families are raising courageous, absolutely die-hard loyal men and women that are willing to give their lives for their brothers and their sisters,” said Amos. “I want to thank you for that.”
After the ceremony, guests took photos with the restored aircraft.
“It’s great that there’s recognition for these guys - in three cases who paid the ultimate price,” said Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant Daniel Shaw, an instructor pilot with Marine Fighter Attack Training Squadron 101. “It’s great the squadron has been able to do this for them.”
Though the ceremony is over, life for the newly restored aircraft is not finished.
“I have a feeling it’s going to go to a few air shows, and I think it’s going to be shown off as much as possible,” said Cudnohufsky.
Article by Lance Cpl. Rebecca Eller, Headquarters Marine Corps