When Oroville trucker Brian Walker’s was sent him to Virginia a couple of weeks ago to haul back wings of an F-15 fighter jet from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia to Chico.
“He didn’t tell me what kind of wings,” said Walker in an interview Friday in Oroville. “He just told me airplane wings. I had no idea it was an F-15 jet.”
Walker drove one of two farm semis carrying the wings, nose, burn cans and a huge green box filled with parts and panels to put the F-15 back together.
Although they were ready to roll July 22, the group had to wait because they couldn’t travel during the weekend through the Virginia city of Hampton, where Langley’s located. The group finally left around the base around 2 p.m. EDT July 25, but they only traveled about 240 miles the first day, partly due to permits.
The trip became known as the Freedom Eagle project and took five days through eight states. They arrived in Chico July 31.Walker said the best part of the trip was seeing the reactions of people along the way. Some motorists whizzed past and slowed down once they realized what he was hauling, or they would ride up beside Walker’s truck and make gestures or point.
The F-15 aircraft also drew people when the truckers stopped. At times, the convoy was able to stop at empty parking lots, but within minutes, the lots would have 15 or more cars “with people taking pictures, talking to us, and wanting their pictures taken with (the plane).”
“It was an experience I will never forget,” Walker said somberly. “It’s an honor that I got to do it.”
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