Throwback Thursday – General Russell Dougherty and the Lockheed Shooting Star

Throwback Thursday has featured many stories of aircraft and aviators from Bowling Green’s Aviation Heritage Park. This week we dedicate to the memory of Glasgow native, General Russell Dougherty, and the Lockheed Shooting Star plane at the park.

Born in 1920, the future General Dougherty grew up in Barren County and enrolled in the Kentucky National Guard. He graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1941, and moved to Washington D.C. to study law and take a job at the Pentagon with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. During World War II, he served as a bomber instructor and pilot for B-17 and B-29 aircraft. 

After the war, he received a law degree from the University of Louisville and continued military leadership throughout the Cold War years. He traveled the globe serving many roles through the 1970s, being named a 4-star general, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff and Commander-in-Chief of Strategic Air Command.

The Lockheed Shooting Star plane on display at Aviation Heritage Park first debuted in 1953. It was the training version of the U.S. Air Force’s first operational jet fighter. General Dougherty flew this trainer plane frequently during his FBI years serving at the Pentagon. 

This plane had room for two crew members, a wing span of 38 feet, weighed just over 8,000 pounds, and has a maximum speed of 600 miles per hour. The Lockheed Shooting Star has been on loan for Aviation Heritage Park from the National Museum of the U.S. Air force in Dayton, Ohio since 2011.

General Dougherty passed away in 2007 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.