• Project to restore Portales F-111 display seeks donations

    February 27, 2023
    A project to restore the F-111 fighter jet static display on the west entry to Portales is now under way and seeking donations, according to officials from the Roosevelt County Community Development, Corp, the Roosevelt County Chamber and City of Portales.
    The project got its kick-start when retired MSgt. John E. Book contacted Portales City Manager Sarah Austin about the aircraft. The display is on loan to the City of Portales from the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force and is located on city property in the median between West First and Second Streets (U.S. 70) near the traffic light at Ave. K.
    Book, who lives in Clovis, was concerned by the condition of the aircraft, which is in bad need of repainting and repair. The veteran aircraft maintainer, who retired at Cannon, has a personal history with the aircraft. He maintained it beginning in 1974, when he was stationed at Mt. Home Air Force Base, ID. The jet was stationed at Mt. Home from 1971 to 1977 before it was assigned to RAF Station Lakenheath, UK from 1977 to the early 1990s.
    The F-111-F was deployed to tree-cutting duty in Korea in the 1970s and served in both Desert Shield and Desert Storm, dropping precision guided bombs. During the Gulf War it was named “Lady Be Good II.” It returned stateside to Cannon Air Force Base in 1992. Following that assignment it became a static display in 1996 and was renamed City of Portales.
    According to newspaper stories it has been well over a decade since the bird was repainted. Estimates for repair and painting by an approved vendor are approximately $28,000 and the money needs to be raised outside of the city budget with donations or grants. The Roosevelt County Community Development Corp. has been designated to accept the donations, since that organization is a 501c3 and can provide tax deductible donation letters to those seeking a tax write-off on the donation. The Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce will also have a donation portal on its website that will accept donations made with a credit card.
    “We have a very strong connection with Cannon Air Force Base and Portales and Roosevelt County continues to be a vibrant military community,” said Chamber Executive Director Karl Terry. “This important war bird occupies a very prominent spot at our entrance from the west and we need to make sure it is preserved. We urge community members and veterans to chip in what they can to make this project happen.”
    To make a donation make checks payable to:
    100 S. Ave A
    Portales, New Mexico 88130
    Or visit:
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