Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Veterans Memorial, Goldsboro
The Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Veterans Memorial is an abstract sculpture of painted steel standing 10 feet 4 inches tall. The sculpture is comprised of three triangular forms in close proximity on a round steel and concrete base. The base is surrounded by a circular walk of brick pavers. Three bronze plaques describe the history of Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the 4th Fighter Wing and members of the 4th Fighter Wing killed in action. The decision to have 3 plaques was already in place when the sculptor, Edwin White, was commission to design the piece. “That was probably the main incentive to have 3 shapes. I also remember wanting to have the separate shapes form a “unit” which is achieved by nesting the 3 forms together. The 4th Fighter Unit was indeed a tight unit of dedicated individuals,” said White. The sculptor emphasized the importance of the plaque placement as he wanted it to be readable but not so outstanding as to take away from the sculpture. Thus, the plaques have a dull finish and are set in a position that requires an onlooker to get close "to have a more personal relationship with the words and forms." The goal was to require a bit more effort than to simply stand way back and read a basic historical plaque.
Images: East side view | West side view | South side view | 4th Fighter Wing Plaque | Killed In Action Plaque | Seymour Johnson AFB Plaque | Far-off view
Plaque west facing side: 4TH FIGHTER WING HISTORY / THE 4TH FIGHTER WING TRACES ITS HERITAGE BACK TO THE ROYAL AIR FORCE / EAGLE SQUADRONS OF WORLD WAR II. BEFORE
THE UNITED STATES HAD OFFICIALL / ENTERED THE WAR, BRAVE AMERICAN VOLUNTEERS FLEW BRITISH HURRICANES AND / SPITFIRES AGAINST THE LUFTWAFFE OF NAZI GERMANY.
THE THREE EAGLE SQUADRONS LATER CONVERTED TO THE 334TH, 335TH, AND / 336TH FIGHTER SQUADRONS TO FORM THE 4TH FIGHTER GROUP. FLYING P-47 / THUNDERBOLTS AND P-51 MUSTANGS, THE 4TH FIGHTER GROUP DESTROYED 1016 / ENEMY AIRCRAFT, MORE THAN ANY OTHER UNIT IN WORLD WAR II.
DURING THE KORAN WAR, THE 4TH FIGHTER INTERCEPTOR WING BECAME THE / FIRST UNIT TO FLY THE F-86 SABRE IN COMBAT, DESTROYING 506 ENEMY MIGS, / MORE THAN THE REST OF THE U.S. AIR FORCE COMBINED.
IN DECEMBER 1957, THE 4TH TACTICAL FIGHTER WING MOVED TO ITS / PRESENT-DAY LOCATION AT SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE IN GOLDSBORO, / NORTH CAROLINA. AIRMEN FLEW THE F-100 SUPER SABRE AND THE F-105 / THUNDERCHIEF UNTIL 1967, UNTIL THE WING TRANSITIONED TO THE F-4 PHANTOM / II, FLYING MORE THAN 8,700 COMBAT MISSIONS IN VIETNAM.
IN 1988, THE 4TH FIGHTER WING ADOPTED THE MIGHTY F-15E STRIKE EAGLE. / TWO YEARS LATER IT FLEW MORE THAN 3,200 SORTIES IN SUPPORT OF OPEATIONS / DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM. FOLLOWING THE GULF WAR, THE 4TH FIGHTER / WING MAINTAINED A NEAR-CONSTANT PRESENCE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA, SUPPORTING / OPERATIONS NORTHERN WATCH, SOUTHERN WATCH, ALLIED FORCE, AND FLYING / MORE THAN 15,000 SORTIES IN NORTHERN AND SOUTHERN IRAQ.
IN 2003, THE 4TH FIGHTER WING ONCE AGAIN DEPLOYED TO SOUTHEAST ASIA / IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM, FLYING MORE THAN 3,500 MISSIONS / AND RELEASING OVER 3 MILLION POUNDS OF PRECISION ORDINANCE.
THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE 4TH DEPLOYED TO AFGHANISTAN FROM 2007 TO / 2011 FOR OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM IN MULTIPLE RECORD SETTING / DEPLOYMENTS.
TODAY THE 4TH FIGHTER WING CONTINUES TO BE “FOURTH BUT FIRST” AS ITS / MEN AND WOMEN LEAD THE WAY IN DEFENSE OF OUR GREAT NATION.
Plaque north facing side: SEYMOUR JOHNSON AFB HISTORY / SEYMOUR JOHNSON FIELD, ESTABLISHED ON JUNE 12, 1942, SIX / MONTHS AFTER THE UNITED STATES ENTERED WORLD WAR II, IS NAMED IN / HONOR OF LIEUTENANT SEYMOUR A. JOHNSON. A GOLDSBORO NATIVE / AND U.S. NAVY TEST PILOT, HE WAS KILLED IN AN AIRCRAFT CRASH NEAR / NORBECK, MARYLAND, IN 1941.
SEYMOUR JOHNSON FIELD’S EARLY MISSIONS INCLUDED TECHNICAL / AND BASIC MILITARY CADET TRAINING UNTIL 1943 WHEN THE 326TH / FIGHTER GROUP WAS ASSIGNED THERE TO TRAIN PILOTS TO FLY THE P-47 / THUNDERBOLT.
WITH THE END OF WORLD WAR II IN EUROPE, SEYMOUR JOHNSON / FIELD BECAME A CENTRAL ASSEMBLY STATION FOR PROCESSING AND / TRAINING TROOPS BEING REASSIGNED IN THE CONTINENTIAL UNITED STATES / AND PACIFIC THEATER UNTIL IT WAS DEACTIVATION IN MAY 1946.
IN LATE 1952, GOLDSBORO MAYOR SCOTT B. BERKELY, SR. AND / COMMUNITY LEADERS BEGAN A CAMPAIGN TO REOPEN THE INSTALLATION. / AFTER THE U.S. CORPS OF ENGINEERS DEMOLISHED OLD BUILDINGS AND / BUILT NEW FACILITIES, SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE WAS / REACTIVATED AS A TACTICAL AIR COMMAND BASE ON APRIL 1, 1956.
SHORTLY AFTER, ON DECEMBER 8, 1957, THE 4TH FIGHTER WING WAS / ASSIGNED TO THE INSTALLATION, WHERE IT REMAINS THE PRIMARY UNIT. / SINCE THE BASE’S REOPENING, IT HAS BEEN HOME TO B-52 BOMBERS, / KC-10 AND KC-135 TANKERS FROM THE STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND, / AND F-100, F-105, F-4, AND F-15E FIGHTERS.
SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE HAS ALWAYS ENJOYED A / SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH WAYNE COUNTY, THE MEN AND WOMEN OF / THE 4TH FIGHTER WING PROULDY CALL GOLDSBORO THEIR HOME.
Plaque east facing side: 4TH FIGHTER WING KILLED IN ACTION / BEFORE THE 4TH WAS STATIONED AT SEYMOUR JOHNSON AFB / WORLD WAR II / EAGLE SQUADRONS – 108 KILLED IN ACTION / 4TH FIGHTER GROUP – 128 KILLED IN ACTION / KOREAN WAR / 4TH FIGHER INTERCEPTOR WING – 32 KILLED IN ACTION / AFTER THE 4TH WAS STATIONED AT SEYMOUR JOHNSON AFB / VIETNAM WAR / 4TH TACTICAL FIGHTER WING / CAPT SAMUEL E. CORNELIUS, 336TH SQUADRON, 16 JUNE 1973 / CAPT THOMAS E. REITMAN, 335TH SQUADRON, 6 DECEMBER 1965 / LT COL MELVIN J. KILLIAN, 334TH SQUADRON, 30 SEPTEMBER 1965 / OPERATION DESERT SHIELD/STORM / 4TH TACTICAL FIGHTER WING / MAJ THOMAS E. KORITZ, 335TH SQUADRON, 17 JANUARY 1991 / MAJ DONNIE R. HOLLAND / 335TH SQUADRON, 17 JANUARY 1991 / A1C ROCKY J. NELSON, 4TH CIVIL ENGINEERING SQUADRON, 1 DECEMBER 1990 / MAJ PETER J. HOOK, 336TH SQUADRON, 30 SEPTEMBER 1990 / CAPT JAMES B. POULET, 336 SQUADRON, 30 SEPTEMBER 1990 / OPERATON IRAQI FREEDOM / 4TH FIGHTER WING / LT COL WILLIAM R. WATKINS III, 333RD SQUADRON, 7 APRIL 2003 / CAPT ERIC B. DAS, 333RD SQUADRON, 7 APRIL 2003 / OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM / 4TH FIGHTER WING / CAPT THOMAS J. GRAMITH, 336TH SQUADRON, 18 JULY 2009 / CAPT. MARK R. MCDOWELL, 336TH SQUADRON, 18 JULY 2009
City of Goldsboro Parks and Recreation Department
November 11, 2011
35.382630 , -77.993580 View in Geobrowse
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Wayne County Veterans Memorial, Goldsboro, NC, http://www.wayneveteransmemorial.org/, (accessed November 8, 2016) Link
“Seymour Johnson AFB History / 4th Fighter Wing History Memorial,” The Historical Marker Database, HMdb.org, (accessed September 19, 2016) Link
“Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Veterans Memorial,” Edwin White Designs, (accessed September 29, 2016) Link
Painted steel, bronze plaques
The memorial is located at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial complex at the intersection of E Walnut and N William Streets, in downtown Goldsboro, NC. The Vietnam War Memorial is also located in the memorial park.
The WWI Doughboy Statue and John Lawson memorial are across East Walnut street, in front of the Wayne County Courthouse at 224 East Walnut Street, Goldsboro, NC. A bronze plaque commemorating the 75th anniversary of the First Pentecostal Holiness Church is attached to the left support column of the courthouse building.
The memorial stands on the lawn, surrounded by trees and bushes.
Veterans and Memorial Day services are held at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial. The park is also available for rent for private functions. The intent is for the site to be actively used for veterans' activities, community events, concerts, and visits by community groups, thus continuing its role as a living memorial.