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Antique military plane taxied from Huron to Chamberlain

Motorists on the back roads between Huron and Chamberlain stopped to take photos Wednesday of a U.S. Air Force plane being transported to the South Dakota Veterans Park in Chamberlain. Shown here, the plane makes its way through Jerauld County. (Submitted photo courtesy of Jason Weber)

CHAMBERLAIN -- Motorists on the back roads between Huron and Chamberlain stopped to take photos Wednesday of a U.S. Air Force plane being transported to the South Dakota Veterans Park in Chamberlain.

The T-33 Trainer was on display at the Huron VFW for 40 years, but will now make its home in Chamberlain. It's going to be located near Interstate 90.

"If you're driving on the interstate and you don't see that plane, you shouldn't be driving," said Tim Thomas, Chamberlain city commissioner and chairman of the South Dakota Veterans Park. The plane will sit on the northeast corner of the park, which also has on display a cannon and two military trucks.

Thomas said Huron Welding donated equipment and time to help move the plane. Robinson's House Moving, of Mitchell, also helped load the plane for transport.

Since the VFW in Huron sold its building, the city of Chamberlain has been working to secure the plane for display. Thomas said the National Museum of the United States Air Force, which owns the plane, approved Chamberlain to display the T-33 Trainer. The National Museum of United State Air Force is based in Dayton, Ohio. The city must maintain the plane and keep it insured, Thomas said.

He gave Russell Gramstad, of the Huron VFW, credit for helping coordinate transportation and Nicole Gaulke, Chamberlain finance officer, credit for hours of phone calls and paperwork to secure the plane.

The trip from Huron to Chamberlain took about 4 1/2 hours. Thomas said there weren't many stretches of road that people didn't stop to take photos. Even a school bus full of kids stopped so they could cheer as the plane made its way by.

"It's pretty neat," Thomas said.

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