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9-11 Hero "still serving" on display at McChord 

F-16A 82-0929 is now displayed it a prominent display in front of the Western Air Defense Sector HQ.  

With the Nation reflecting on the events that occurred on September 11, 2001, we also pause to remember a first responder that makes its home at McChord, F-16A 82-0929, one of the first fighters scrambled to intercept the hijacked airliners. In 2006, the F-16 from the 119th Fighter Wing "Happy Hooligans" of the North Dakota Air National Guard completed its last flight before being retired for display at McChord. The pilot that day, Lt Col Brad Derrig was very familiar with the jet, it was he and two of his fellow squadron mates (Lt. Col. Craig Borgstrom, & Lt. Col Dean Eckmann) in their F-16 were the first pilots scrambled with a mission to defend the Nation's Capital during the terrorist attacks on September 11.

McChord Air Museum volunteers played an important role in the acquisition and preparation for display at WADS HQ, below you can find two stories published over the years covering actions of Museum Volunteers in bringing this historic aircraft to McChord.  For the story of the flight of the Happy Hooligans during the terrorist attacks of 9/11 please click the story link below.

Story - North Dakota pilots recount patrolling DC skies on 9/11
F-16A ADF Fact Sheet

31 DECEMBER 2006

Foundation Member helps 
“land” a F-16 for WADS 
Lt Col. Brad Derrig "shuts down" F-16ADF 82-0929 for the final time in one of the McChord AFB Alert Hangars after completing a cross-country flight to Washington State. Col Derrig flying in F-16A -0929, and two other “Happy Hooligan” F-16 ADF’s scrambled from their unit’s alert detachment at Langley AFB, VA to intercept hijacked airliners over New York and Washington DC during Sept 11, 2001.
While many were out returning gifts a day after Christmas, a small crowd gathered by one of  McChord's alert hangers to see the last flight of a aircraft that made its mark on history standing alert during September 11, 2001.  The aircraft, F-16A S/N 82-0929, one of the 3 F-16 scrambled against hijacked airliners on 9-11-01, poked through the rain clouds and touched down for the last time after a cross country flight from it's  base at Fargo, ND. The aircraft’s pilot Lt Col. Brad Derrig, Commander of the 119th Operations Group, North Dakota Air National Guard will always be linked by this journey, but the two will also be remembered as one of the U.S. initial defense against terror.  
What started out as another day standing alert at Langley AFB for the pilots of the 119th FW  better known as the “Happy Hooligans”, quickly became anything but routine. Shortly after terrorist commandeered civil airliners from New York airports, the units F-16's were ordered to “battle stations” and quickly given the “scramble” order by the Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) to defend the airspace of the United States. F-16ADF 82-0929 piloted by the then Maj. Brad Derrig, and two other F-16’s flown by Capt. Dean Eckmann Capt. Craig Borgstrom would later perform history's first CAP over Washington DC and the Pentagon. 
Since 2002 Foundation Board Member Ernest White lead the effort to bring the "9-11 first responders" to McChord for display. Over the years, White authored numerous letters and place more than a few phone calls to many individuals and organizations in the USAF, Department of Defense and Congress in a effort to gain a waver for S/N -929 because of its important history. Since the early 90’s only F-16 considered to be “non flyers” were the only aircraft available for display.
During the last months of 2006 what seemed to be a futile effort to acquire -929 became a reality. Working with the F-16 System Program Office or “SPO” White was able to secure the F-16 before it’s scheduled flight to the Davis-Monthan “Boneyard”, where it was to be used for a source of spare parts for other F-16. "It was not until I saw her taxi by until I realized that we really did get her here" White said, "This is a day I though I would never see!”
Although the McChord Air Museum was not on the Air Force’s waiting list for F-16, the Western Air Defense Sector had been on since 1994. The unit had planned on displaying the aircraft with the other historic Fighter-Interceptor aircraft, but later decided to honor the aircraft by displaying it in front of the units headquarters. When asked about the location change White responded “The best ending to this story is that a very historic aircraft was saved for many generations to admire”    
PHOTO BY Abner Guzman /  USAF
Foundation Board Member Ernest White greets Col. Derrig after he leaves F-16 82-0929 for the last time. White began an effort to bring the fighter to the Museum in 2002.

16 OCTOBER 2007

Members prep Falcon for its final assignment

McChord Air Museum Foundation volunteers (L-R) Jack Whitaker, Ken Roberts, Dick Jones, Harvey Wishoff, Alice Jackson, Bert Brandt and Jerry McNeil pose next to F-16 82-0929 formally assigned to North Dakota National Guard.

After months of work behind the scenes, F-16 82-0929 emerged from the McChord Alert Facility hundreds of pounds lighter in preparation for display on the grounds of the Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) located on the south end of the base. Over the last few weeks, members from the 162nd Fighter Wing, out of Tucson AZ and WADS, “de-milled” the aircraft, removing sensitive and serviceable items (including the engine). Once complete, the F-16 was moved from to the Museums restoration hangar to undergo some “final touches” in preparation for a complete repainting.  
Another member volunteered for the project was Museum Member Ernest White,  in charge of documenting and researching distinctive markings for  “Hooligan” F-16s  and basic markings worn by this and other Fighting Falcons. Once complete, information will be provided to painters from the 62 AW since most markings will be lost after the aircraft is sanded and primed. “Painting a F-16 is not something they’re not use  to” said White, “We want to give the painters all of the tools to insure, from tip to tail, -929 is historically accurate”.
Plans are to mount the aircraft next to the F-4 display by NORAD’s 50th Anniversary in May of 2008.

21 MAY 2008

Western Air Defense Sector dedicates historic aircraft
Photo By Randy Rubattino /usaf 

The F-16 fighter's place in air defense history is assured with this permanent display at the Headquarters of the Western Air Defense Sector at McChord AFB, WA

The Western Air Defense Sector (WADS) hosted a formal dedication ceremony on May 21, 2008 for a historic F-16A Fighting Falcon from the North Dakota Air National Guard. The F-16 was set on permanent display on February 11 of this year. 
The aircraft, F-16A ADF (Air Defense Fighter) S/N 82-0929, was one of the three F-16s scrambled against hijacked airliners on Sept. 11, 2001. The aircraft and its pilot on that day - Lt. Col. Brad Derrig, commander of the 119th Operations Group, North Dakota ANG - will always be remembered as part of the United States' first line of defense against terrorism.
Colonel Derrig, who participated in the dedication ceremony, piloted the historic jet on its final flight here Dec. 26, 2006. After its arrival at McChord, the aircraft was prepared for permanent display by volunteers from several agencies and organizations - the McChord Air Museum, the 162nd Fighter Wing from Tucson, Ariz., the 194th Operations Group, the 62nd Airlift Wing and WADS.
All groups who made this project a success were presented a Letter of appreciation and Commanders' Coin by Col Paul Gruver, Commander of WADS, accepting for the Museum was Foundation Board Member Ernest White who led the effort to bring the historic F-16 to McChord. 
(Special thanks to WADS Public Affairs for their contributions to this artice)
Photo By Randy Rubattino /usaf 

Joining Sector Commander Col. Paul Gruver, second from left, in unveiling the F-16 plaque they are from left Mr. Greg Heidloff of WADS; Senior Master Sgt. John Kennedy from the 194th Operations Group; Master Sgt. Scott McCool of WADS; Master Sgt. James Roark (partially hidden) from Arizona's 162nd Fighter Wing, and Mr. Ken Roberts, from the McChord Air Museum.

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