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9/11 fighter jet is coming here — to stay


Adding any historic airplane to their collection is exciting to members of the Pacific Coast Air Museum, but this may be an all-time high.

The museum at the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport has become guardian of the lead F-15 Eagle fighter jet dispatched to Manhattan when terrorists hijacked airliners the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

As two F-15s scrambled from Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, pilots Timothy Duffy and Daniel Nash didn't know what they would encounter over New York City, about 153 miles away.

As it was, an American Airlines Boeing 767 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center before the fighters became airborne, and a United Airlines 767 slammed into the South Tower before the fighters arrived on scene. The disbelieving National Guard pilots cleared the airspace, patroled against further attacks and provided New Yorkers a measure of assurance.

In 2006, the lead F-15 was retired. Recently, the National Museum of the Air Force offered to entrust it to PCAM (pacificcoastairmuseum.org).

Museum members intend to raise money for an exhibit at the county airport that will showcase the F-15 and stand as the West Coast's major tribute to all who perished on 9/11 and all who rushed to the towers intent on saving lives.

The partially dismantled F-15 should arrive here on a couple of trucks in three or four weeks.

WERE THE TABLES TURNED, friends of Mike Runyan know he'd be there for them at a time like this.

So people fond of the gregarious ex-Santa Rosa councilman are putting on a family-style dinner at 5:30 p.m. MondayNov. 15 to help him cover living expenses for the three months his son, Travis, 28, will be in L.A. for a long-awaited kidney transplant.

Runyan would pay the costs himself if he could, but he's living very lean after the Skyhawk Village retail project didn't work out.

The friends putting on the benefit at Franco's Ristorante request a $50 donation and an RSVP to forterri@planitservices.net.

FAMILY NAMES: Lesley Brabyn of Bodega Bay's Salmon Creek Ranch is back from Toronto, where she met the brother she didn't know she had for most of her 56 years.

Lesley, who was passed to adoptive parents at birth, came home from the encounter with her 55-year-old brother astonished and with tales to tell. For one, she was astounded to hear his birth name: John Trevor Hawkins.

Though Lesley didn't know until very recently that John Trevor existed, she married a man named John more than three decades ago and when her only son was born 26 years back, she named him Trevor.

HATS OFF TO JAN WAHL, who'll come to the Spreckels Center in Rohnert Park on Sunday afternoon to emcee the Lunafest Wine Country Film Festival.

There will be a hat contest in the hat-happy movie reviewer's honor, 10 films by and for women will be screened, and The Rolling Blackouts will play Sixties music.

Most of the proceeds from the festival (lunafest.org) will benefit Sloan House, the shelter Community Action Partnership operates for homeless women and children.

MILITARY VETS STOOD and humbly accepted the applause of a crowd at the luncheon that Santa Rosa-area Rotary and Kiwanis clubs put on Tuesday at a bedecked Veterans Memorial Building.

Some of those vets will gather today in Petaluma, where organizers of the 1 p.m. Veterans Day parade (www.petalumaveteransflyin.com) expect at least 180 entries, three tanks, multiple aircraft overhead and a rousing predecessor to what should be an historic parade exactly one year hence, on 11/11/11.

Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.