JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A model of the plane flown by a Jacksonville pilot and the first American casualty of the Gulf War has been restored and is on display to honor his memory.
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Captain Scott “Spike” Speicher was shot down in his F/A-18C Hornet in January 1991 while on a mission during the first stages of the Gulf War. As a naval pilot assigned to the VFA-81 “Sunliners” squadron, he was based in Cecil Field, the current home of Boeing’s Jacksonville site.
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More than 20 Boeing volunteers worked on weekends and time off for nine months to complete the restoration. The volunteers included U.S. Navy veteran, Daniel Mastrolia, who gathered the group of employees -- including many other military veterans -- to restore the plane and refresh its livery.
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The F/A-18 model is now on display at the National POW/MIA Memorial & Museum at the former Naval Air Station Cecil Field. The museum memorializes prisoners of war (POW) and those missing in action (MIA).