Phantom Jet continues to honor vets

It’s been 20 years since the F-4 Phantom jet arrived in Marshalltown on its mission to honor veterans and inspire young people to join the military.

Veteran Jeff Heiden, who was responsible with getting the Air Force plane to town along with his brother Chris Heiden, said it has been a success.

“I think it honors all of our veterans in the area and inspires young people for military service,” Jeff Heiden said.

Thousands of people see the jet each day as they drive past the American Legion Golf Course on Sixth Street. Many bus tour groups stop by each year and get an up-close look.

“They are amazed that we have a nice piece of Air Force history right here in Marshalltown,” Heiden said. “It’s just a neat piece of history.”

The jet flew in the Vietnam War from 1966 to 1968 and was the exact jet flown by Joe Latham, of Marshalltown.

“It was neat to have that local connection out of the more than 5,000 of that type of plane,” Heiden said.

In 1993, the jet was disassembled at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas, brought to Marshalltown on two semi trucks, then reassembled.

The jet remains Air Force property and the American Legion is the caretaker.

Contact Andrew Potter at 641-753-6611 or