MILWAUKEE -- The iconic Lance Sijan Fighter Jet Memorial is moving to a new location, after an 8-year-long effort.
The Milwaukee native became an Air Force Captain during the Vietnam War. Sijan's plane went down in 1967 when the bombs he was carrying malfunctioned and exploded. Sijan was able to eject himself but was injured and captured shortly after, according to his official website.
Sijan died of pneumonia while imprisoned in North Vietnam, in 1968. Sijan was then posthumously awarded the Air Force Medal of Honor in 1976 by President Gerald Ford.
The memorial that was erected on the Air Force 440th Air Lift Wing at General Mitchell Field, is a replica of the F-4C Phantom jet that Sijan flew.
Sijan's sister, Janine Sijan-Rozina, had been working to get the memorial moved to a new location, ever since the 440th Air Lift Wing was moved to North Carolina in 2007. Sijan-Rozina was given approval a few years ago, but needed to come up with the funds to transport the memorial.
According to Sijan-Rozina, after a series of contractors and donations from across the country, they were able to raise the money they needed to move the memorial to its new spot at the General Mitchell Airport entrance on Howell Ave.
The jet will be transported within the next two weeks on a flat bed truck to a green space at the airport's entrance. Around the memorial, there will be a plaza with parking and marbled benches for visitors, according to Sijan-Rozina. The official dedication will take place on May 26th, 2017.
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