149FW pilot performs hometown flyover

  • Published
  • By Kevin Welch
  • Amarillo Globe-News
The push to hold today's dedication of a fighter jet at the Texas Panhandle War Memorial Park had a momentum that only grew stronger.

"We got very lucky on this," said Master Sgt. William Conner with the public affairs office at Lackland Air Force Base. "This had too many things - a plane that belonged to us, a speaker who flew one, the guy on duty to fly missions that day is from Amarillo. There were too many things going in the right direction not to pull it off."

The event is the dedication of a restored F-100 jet at 11 a.m. next to the Randall County Annex, 4111 S. Georgia St. The dedication speaker will be Texas Supreme Court Justice Phil Johnson, a former Amarillo resident who flew F-100s in Vietnam.

There will be a flyover of two F-16s from Lackland, and one of the pilots will be Lt. Col. Gordon Neibergall, a graduate of Amarillo High School who flies for the 149th Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard, said Randall County Judge Ernie Houdashell.

Neibergall is one of the senior instructors of the 149th Fighter Wing, which trains pilots in F-16s after they have learned basic flying skills, Conner said.

The planes will swoop in about 1,000 feet going about 290 mph at 11 a.m.

Houdashell said the plane was an "aerial athlete" of a fighter bomber, used heavily during the Vietnam War to support ground troops.

"It deserved some noise over it," he said. "It was going to be destroyed."