McDonnell Douglas USMC AV-8B Harrier II Plus BuNo 164560 Arrives at Hickory Aviation Museum

On July 15, 2024 at 3:28, McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier II Plus BuNo 164560 piloted by LTCOL J. B. “Traper” Cumbie, USMC, Commanding Officer, VMA-223 “Bulldogs”, flying in formation with TAV-8 Harrier II BuNo 163186 piloted by Major J. J. “Sid” Galvin, USMC, arrived overhead Hickory Regional Airport.  They performed three fly-bys with Major Galvin doing a full stop landing and taxiing to the South Ramp, while LTCOL Cumbie continued with two more passes until a full stop landing.  An estimated crowd of over 3,000 spectators were on hand to witness the arrival from any vantage point they could secure.

LTCOL Cumbie exited Runway 24, crossed under the water cannon arch provided by the City of Hickory Fire Department, and then parked on the ramp in front of the assembled invited dignitaries.  LTCOL Cumbie was welcomed, said a few brief words, and then he invited the public to see the aircraft up close and he was immediately mobbed!  He did not even get a chance to take off his flight gear, but for the next hour or so, he stood with the jet and greeted the public, taking photos, and showcasing the USMC.  VMA-223 maintenance personnel opened up their cruise box of squadron memorabilia full of patches, posters, key chains etc and were pretty much sold out in a matter of minutes.

164560 was towed across to the South Ramp and parked as the background for the BBQ dinner that was sponsored by the Museum for volunteers and their families as well as invited guests from Catawba Valley Community College and the City of Hickory.  The dinner was catered by JD’s Smokehouse, and judging by the line for “seconds”, it was a big hit with our guests.  After speeches and gift presentations, the evening ended and the TAV-8 was moved inside the hangar for the night. 

164560 was demilitarized by the VMA-223 maintenance crew the following day.  LTCOL Cumbie and Major Galvin departed HKY at 11:40am in 163186 returning to their home base at MCAS Cherry Point, NC.

The Museum would like to thank and recognize the National Naval Aviation Museum, NAS Pensacola, LTCOL Cumbie and VMA-223, and COL Mark “Ammo” Amspacher, AV-8B Program Manager (PMA 257).  Without their tireless work coordinating placement of this historic aircraft with Hickory Aviation Museum, this day would not have been possible.

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