- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (AP) - A Bowling Green park dedicated to aviation history is adding a NASA T-38 Talon aircraft to its collection.

The jet was due to arrive in Bowling Green Saturday so it could be displayed at the Aviation Heritage Park.

“We are incredibly excited that we’re getting this aircraft,” said Bob Pitchford, vice president of the park.

The plane, with a tail number of 901, was used by astronauts who flew missions during the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, including John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong. The Daily News reports (http://bit.ly/1jn4OHK ) it will be the fifth aircraft at the park.

The jet was also flown by astronaut and U.S. Marine Col. Terry Wilcutt, a Russellville native and Western Kentucky University graduate. It will be used to tell Wilcutt’s story.

“We’ll be able to say, ‘Touch this plane … and you have touched the manned spaceflight history of this country,’ ” said Ray Buckberry, a park board member.

The aircraft is arriving from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Ariz., where it has been since 2011. Transporting the plane is costing around $40,000, and de-militarization costs about $17,000.

Dan Cherry, executive vice president of the park, was in Arizona earlier this month to ensure the plane was dismantled and loaded for transport.

“We’re anxious to get it here. It has so much history,” Cherry said.

Though some of the planes at the park have been severely damaged, the T-38 has no damage, Cherry said.

___

Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com