For nearly a decade, Janine Sijan has been trying to relocate her brother’s F4-C Phantom from across the Mitchell International Airport, a jet that famously flew during the Vietnam War, and now, finally, Janine’s dream has come true.
While on a flight over North Vietnam, Captain Lance Sijan was forced to eject from his disabled aircraft and managed to evade capture for more than six weeks. Inevitably, after suffering injury and starvation, Sijan was indeed captured and severely tortured for information. However, Sijan never once yielded to their demands nor complained about his injuries. In fact, even when he entered a state of delirium, he continued to plot further escape attempts with his captured comrades. However, Sijan would eventually succumb to his injuries and perish without ever once giving in to their demands. For his extraordinary bravery and going beyond the call of duty at the cost of his life, Sijan received the Air Force Medal of Honor posthumously on March 4, 1976 by then President Gerald Ford.
A replica of his plane was created and put on display at the southwest corner of the Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukie, Wisconsin to commemorate Lance’s extraordinary bravery. Since the last F4-C model military jet was decommissioned by the United States Government last year and Lance’s jet’s original location had since lost its grandiose presentation when smaller businesses began taking up nearby surrounding areas, Janine lobbied to have the jet relocated to restore its prominence. The project was funded by donations from all involved in the project.
The plane was lifted by Marshall Erecting, Inc. on Tuesday, February 21st, 2017 and is scheduled tentatively to be lifted down onto it’s new pier on Monday, March 6, 2017. The initial lift took nearly six hours. In order to successfully lift and lower the plane safely, Lifting Gear Hire donated a Modulift® Modular Spreader Beam, four 5-ton chainfalls with 20 feet of lift, and all the required rigging, as well, to Marshall Erecting, Inc.
This relocation will launch the formation of a new Milwaukee landmark called the “Sijan Memorial Plaza” at the airport, which will serve as an emblem of civic duty and pride and be a new tourist destination site to introduce visitors to the late Milwaukee hero, Capt. Lance Sijan.
In addition, a feature length documentary is in production which’ll explore the life and legacy left behind by Sijan.
For more information about this project including recent updates or if you’d like to donate to the cause, visit http://www.lancesijan.com/phantom-jet/.