Lake Superior Hostet Statue Unveiling
On Friday, June 5, the CAF Lake Superior 101 Squadron of Duluth, Minn. hosted the unveiling of a statue created of U.S. Navy CDR David Wheat. Wheat was a radar intercept officer (RIO) in an F-4 Phantom of VF-41 during the Vietnam War. On his 80th combat mission, Oct. 17, 1965, he was serving as RIO when his aircraft was shot down. He and the pilot were forced to eject over North Vietnam. He spent more than seven years as a POW. The statue was created to honor him and all the POW's from the state of Minnesota.
The initial idea to construct the statue came from John Marshall, a veteran who served in the Army. The statue was made possible by many veterans groups in the Duluth area including the Northland Veterans Service Committee, which raised $60,000 through private donations to pay for the statue.Fully assembled the statue weighs around 5,000 pounds and it is nearly 11 ft. tall. The statue shows Wheat bound and struggling to his feet. Tim Cleary, the artist, said he worked with Wheat on a vision for the statue and heard about his time as a POW.
CAF Lake Superior 101 Squadron will keep the statue on display in their hangar until the statue’s final home at the Duluth International Airport is complete.Eventually, the sculpture will be moved and displayed on the second floor of the Duluth Airport near a statue of Tuskegee Airman Joseph Gomer.
For more information about the CAF Lake Superior 101 Squadron visit www.cafduluth.com