PENSACOLA, Fla. (WKRG) — A memorial plaza is planned in honor of Pensacola’s General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr.
The memorial is planned for the foot of the General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. Bridge, known locally as the Three Mile Bridge or Pensacola Bay Bridge. James was the first Black four-star general in the United States Armed Forces.
A massive F-4 Phantom, which will serve as the memorial’s centerpiece, arrived onboard NAS Pensacola Friday after a 470 mile journey from Tennessee.
There will also be an 80-foot flag pole at the memorial plaza, as well as a statue of the late general.
“We’re excited about (the Phantom’s) actual arrival today, where it will be taken into the museum and actually be reassembled, and it will be painted in the paint scheme of the squadron Chappie James was in during Vietnam,” said Lee Hansen, a board member at the General Daniel “Chappie” James Jr. Memorial Foundation.
Hansen told reporters Friday about James’ legacy.
“(He was) quite a hero. He was born here in Pensacola to a family that had I think 19 children. He grew up in a home that really stressed education, perseverance and patriotism,” said Hansen. “He was a Tuskegee Airman, rose through the ranks and was a heck of a fighter pilot. He was the first Black 4-star general.”
The foundation hopes the memorial plaza serves as a reminder to locals that anything is possible.
“We absolutely want to inspire people that you can come from very humble beginnings and really make something of yourself,” said Hansen.
No word yet on exactly when the memorial will be completed.