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 For those wishing to donate or who would like to volunteer on the project, you can contact Slemmer at or at 843-673-9262.
Old Shaw T-bird needs make-over
DARLINGTON, S.C -- A Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star, also known as a "T-bird," waits at the Darlington County Airport for its make-over, being led by Boy Scout Frankie Slemmer as an Eagle Scout project. The T-33 once served at Shaw. (Courtesy Photo)
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Ex-Shaw jet at Darlington getting extreme make-over

Posted 10/28/2009   Updated 10/29/2009 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman David Minor
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

10/28/2009 - DARLINGTON, S.C. -- Boy Scout Frankie Slemmer may have bitten off a big chunk as he started to restore a Shaw veteran Lockheed T-33 Shooting Star. 

Due to lack of materials, labor and plans he hasn't embarked on the restoration part for his Eagle Scout project. 

Still, Slemmer hopes to give the 1954-vintage, two-seat trainer a make-over, and to earn the title of Eagle Scout. 

Notable Scouts who earned the rank of Eagle Scout are Medal of Honor Recipient Leo K. Thorsness, astronaut Neil Armstrong, and former President Gerald Ford, Jr. 

Slemmer became interested in planes when he joined the Civil Air Patrol in 2007. Upon joining he decided he wanted to join the Air Force, and become an F-15 pilot. That passion led him to make many model airplanes, and play combat flight simulators on his computer. After taking a trip to Parris Island Marine Corps training center with CAP, his passion shifted toward the Marine Corps.

"I still love flying, but I would like to fly for the Marines," Slemmer explained. "I especially love helicopters, and I may become a helicopter pilot. I plan on making the military my career."

Restoring a real T-33 will be a daunting task for the teen to accomplish. Painting, sanding and polishing are some of the things that will be required of him to complete his mission.

In hopes of completing his project he has teamed up with the Darlington County Airport Commission, the Celebrate Freedom Foundation, Boy Scout Troop 476 and CAP. He also contacted the historian of the 20th Fighter Wing to ask for help.

The Shaw's corrosion control shop has pitched in with guidance and assistance by giving the logistical list of what the aircraft will need for the restoration. When finished, the aircraft will stay on static display at the Darlington County Airport.

"I decided that this would be a great contribution to all of the Air Force pilots past and present,"  Slemmer said. "I think this would be a great way to honor those who are serving."

For those wishing to help support or who would like to volunteer to help on the T-bird, you can contact Slemmer at or at 843-673-9262.

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