Columbus AFB, MS (WCBI) — Many living in The Friendly City remember the deadly crash of a T-38 Jet at Columbus Air Force Base in 2008 that killed Major Blair “Bama” Faulkner and his student pilot Lieutenant Matthew Emmons. Before his death Major Faulkner wanted to provide temporary transportation for military personnel while at the base. Major Faulkner’s dream has become a reality.
A new refurbished 1994 Firebird now has a new home at Columbus Air Force Base. The new beautiful shiny souped-up vehicle is a donation from the widow of Major Blair “Bama” Faulkner.
“This is correct, Major Faulkner had a vision to have a car for the squadron, for reservists that are in town that needed a ride would have this vehicle to drive,” said Lt. Col. David Beau Easterling, CAFB.
At first glance, its not hard to figure out the car looks like a T-38 C Talon once flown by Faulkner.
“The 43FTS here at Columbus Air Force Base is nicknamed the Firebirds. Therefore we bought a firebird car and that’s why the firebird label is on the car also,” said Easterling.
Lt. Colonel Easterling was one of the instruments geared up to making that dream a reality. Auto body specialist Brandon Wood was another person sparked by this token of honor for a man admired by fellow officers, enlisted airmen, and the Columbus Community.
“It really didn’t dawn of me until we went to the banquet and saw how much it meant to a lot of people there. So it was nice to be a part of it,” said Wood.
“For us to be able to do that, it was a real privilege. And we are honored to be able to take that vehicle and represent the memories and the intentions and the honor in which it was intended for,” said Tom Cooper, Bob’s Auto Body.
The Firebird will be parked at the base, but you just may see it rolling throughout the the streets of the Friendly City….and when you do, be sure to give a salute to a fine officer and a gentleman.
Other businesses helping in the restoration of that vehicle were Southern Awning, and O’Reilly’s which provided the paint.