Centennial Park’s iconic F-86 L Sabre Jet, that was located across from HCA Building 2, near the locomotive and event shelter, left the park this week on Monday, November 27 to return to its home at the Tennessee Air National Guard at Berry Field.
The 118th Wing of the Guard was instrumental in arranging the lease and working with Mayor Ben West and Council- man Charles Bramwell to bring the jet to the park in 1961. The Parks Board paid $1,000 to move it from the airport to the park, where it initially served as play equipment for children. In 1981, it was moved from the northwest section of the park to its present site. It was placed on a stand by the 118th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Tennessee Air National Guard, which also repaired and refurbished it for display purposes only.
The 118th approached Metro Parks several months ago expressing their desire to bring the jet back to the airbase at Berry Field, located at 10 Airways Blvd. in Nashville.
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, which owns the aircraft, agreed to a transfer of the lease. Relocation of the jet is consistent with the Centennial Park Master Plan. According to the Master Plan, the 118th is the best possible steward of this important piece of local history. It will also allow the aircraft to remain in Nashville.