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Historic Bee County Courthouse Jets & the Old WWI Cannon

posted Mar 22, 2017, 3:58 PM by Bee County Historical Society   [ updated Mar 23, 2017, 5:50 PM ]

We are constantly being asked about the Jet at the Courthouse, why it is there "now" and when it was placed there. Well, for everyone's info, there were three Jets at the Courthouse Square.

The first Jet, the F9F-2 Aircraft, was placed at the Courthouse Square in July 1957, this was the first training jet at NAS Chasefield.

The second Jet, the AF-9J “Cougar” was place at the Courthouse Square in June 1963 for NAS Chasefield’s 20th Anniversary in Bee County. It replaced the F9F-2 Aircraft.

The third Jet, the A4 Skyhawk “Scooter” replaced the AF-9J "Cougar" in April 1971. The A4 Skyhawk, was then being used for air training at the Naval Air Station at Chasefield.

Thank you to former Chasefield Naval retiree, Steve Shanker, for giving us the info on the differences on the last 2 Jets!!

The Base was decommissioned 1993 and was later replaced with the current Garza East and West State Prisons. The old AF-9J Cougar was placed at the Kolher Park on W. Flournoy, until it finally had to be removed due to deterioration.

In 2009, the current "Scooter", was given a "makeover" by volunteers from Sikorsky Aircraft Maintenance and Coastal Bend College students from the college aviation maintenance course who cleaned, repaired, and painted the jet with Sikorsky providing all of the supplies.

The Naval Base Chasefield was in Bee County from 1943 until it was decommissioned in 1993.

NOTE: Before World War II, a World War I cannon was at this same location. Many people always wondered what happened to it. We placed the information about the cannon on our Facebook page and a “friend” of one of the groups gave us the following info: “According to the historical marker application, the World War I canon was “donated to the World War II scrap metal drive”, thank you Michael Ray Hesseltine for helping us solve the "mystery" on the cannon!!!

***Dates found in Bee Picayune Archives from June 1957 and April 1971, stored at the Joe Barnhart Bee County Library.

W. Lee O'Daniel for Governor of Texas 1938 on the Court House Lawn, Beeville, TX

 Photo taken in the early 1950s

 Name of photographer who took the photo of the "Cougar"
 Photo of "Scooter" taken 2016

 Photo of "Scooter" taken 2017; Watermark embed was not updated