Duluth community displays support for 148th Fighter Wing

Col. Frank H. Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander, speaks during the F-16 static display dedication ceremony at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Oct. 19, 2011.  Ceremony attendees included business and civic leaders, and 148th Fighter Wing members that helped to make the static display a reality.  (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington.)

Col. Frank H. Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander, speaks during the F-16 static display dedication ceremony at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. Oct. 19, 2011. Ceremony attendees included business and civic leaders, and 148th Fighter Wing members that helped to make the static display a reality. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington.)

Supporters, Servicemembers and civic leaders pose for a photo following the dedication ceremony of the F-16 static display at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Oct. 19, 2011. The project was years in the making and made possible by countless hours of labor, materials and more than $100,000 in donated funds from more than 35 local companies and community organizations.  (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka.)

Supporters, Servicemembers and civic leaders pose for a photo following the dedication ceremony of the F-16 static display at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. Oct. 19, 2011. The project was years in the making and made possible by countless hours of labor, materials and more than $100,000 in donated funds from more than 35 local companies and community organizations. (National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Ralph J. Kapustka.)

Supporters, Servicemembers and civic leaders attend the dedication ceremony of the F-16 static display at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. Oct. 19, 2011. The display was dedicated to 148th Airmen, their families, their employers, and to the community that made the project possible.  (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington.)

Supporters, Servicemembers and civic leaders attend the dedication ceremony of the F-16 static display at the entrance to the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn. Oct. 19, 2011. The display was dedicated to 148th Airmen, their families, their employers, and to the community that made the project possible. (National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott G. Herrington.)

DULUTH, Minn. -- "None of this could exist without the enthusiastic stalwart support of our community, the chamber, and our business and civic leaders that stand with us here today," said Col. Frank H. Stokes, 148th Fighter Wing Commander.

Stokes was referring to a Block 10 F-16 suspended in flight on the corner of Airport Road and Bulldog Boulevard during its dedication ceremony Oct. 19, 2011. The project was years in the making and made possible by countless hours of labor, materials and more than $100,000 in donated funds from more than 35 local companies and community organizations.

"We're here to dedicate this tremendous static display, we dedicate it the 148th Airmen, their families and their employers, and we dedicate it to the community of citizens led by the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Military Affairs Committee, who combined amazing talents to create the showcase that symbolizes a resilient and enduring support to our Wing," said Stokes.

In addition to Stokes, Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Tim Cossalter, former 148th Fighter Wing Commander, former Assistant Adjutant General and Outreach Director to Sen. Amy Klobuchar and David Ross, CEO of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce, spoke to the more than 60 attendees at the ceremony.

Cossalter read a letter from Sen. Klobuchar on her behalf, expressing her excitement and support. "The unity of effort to construct this display is indicative of the community's sustained commitment to the Wing. The numerous individuals, the array of business professionals, the many contributions of labor and material, and the countless volunteer hours to complete this display says volumes about this very remarkable community, your dedicated support, and your cooperative spirit," wrote Klobuchar. (Click here to read Sen. Klobuchar's letter.)

"The guard alone could not have made this happen, the community alone could have made this happen, and the chamber alone could not have made it happen, but together all of you made this happen. And today, not only are we celebrating this, but you're celebrating the success of the 148th and the continuation of the 148th in Duluth for many years to come," said Cossalter.

"We too will take great pride in having generations to come enjoy this display as they make their way in and out of the 148th," said Ross.

"Our members are truly blessed every morning with its beauty. The best part is that your efforts will continue to greet our members and visitors for generations to come. And each and every day it will remind us that we live and work in the best community in the United States of America," said Stokes.