Dawes Crane moves memorial Phantom F-4 Jet Fighter

3 July 2017 by Sotiris Kanaris

Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental, a member of the ALL Family of Companies, has moved a memorial McDonnel Douglas F-4C Phantom jet fighter from North Carolina to Milwaukee.

The 26,000lbs plane was a replica of the one in which 25-year old US Air Force captain Lance P. Sijan lost his life, during the Vietnam War. Sijan was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1976.

Initially the memorial was situated in the 440th Airlift Wing of the Air Force Reserve in Milwaukee, but then the 440th moved to Fort Bragg in North Carolina.

It was important to Sijan’s sister, Janine Sijan Rozina, to keep Lance’s story alive and the symbol that represented him in his home state. Through her dedication and persistence, she was able to get the plane relocated to a new plaza at the entrance of the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, where it would stand as a memorial for those who have served and to represent his courage, sacrifice, and leadership.

Dawes Sales Manager Joe Ruddell dedicated a team that would lift the plane, load it onto a flatbed truck, transport it through a shallow tunnel, and then lift and set it onto the foundation in the new plaza.

Dawes’ Link-Belt HTC 86100-XL truck crane, with a 110USt capacity, was chosen for the job along with a 53ft Manac expandable trailer from Dawes Specialized Transport.

When transporting the plane, the truck had to manoeuvre through a tunnel that was so tight, the plane barely fit through, even with folded wings. Once they reached the plaza, the Link-Belt crane lifted the jet off the trailer and set it onto its new pedestal, where it was bolted into place. Onlookers, including veterans and schoolchildren, were taken by the enormity of both the plane and what it represents.

“We are extremely proud to be part of a community that recognizes individuals like Lance, and have been privileged to count ourselves as part of the team who made this project possible,” Ruddell said.