Wally Niemi Memorial Starfighter Project

Starfighter #104644, CFB Cold Lake, early 1980s
Starfighter #104644 – CFB Cold Lake, AB – Photo courtesy of Steve Pajot

Mission Statement
To honour the memory of Captain Walter Niemi and all fallen pilots by raising funds to purchase and put on public display a classic icon of Canada’s military aviation history – the CF-104 Starfighter.

Introduction

On January 11th, 1989, Captain Walter “Nemo” Niemi was killed in the crash of his CF-18 Hornet at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.
Before the Hornets, he flew the CF-104 Starfighter both at Cold Lake, AB and Baden-Soellingen, Germany from 1982-1986.

We (his surviving family) have been offered an exciting opportunity that we hope will serve as a perfect memorial — the chance to purchase Starfighter #104644 to put on display!

Wally flew 644 on several occasions, the first of which was on March 3rd, 1982. Only 5 days later was his first time hitting Mach 2!

The Plan

Wally grew up in and around Birsay, Saskatchewan, so we wanted to find a spot for 644 as close to Birsay as possible. The Rural Municipality of Coteau council has given their permission for the Starfighter to reside within the municipality.

Thanks to a local developer, Rauncie Kinnaird, the plan is for 644 to be placed at a yet-to-be-determined site at the Sandy Shores Resort on Lake Diefenbaker, a 15-minute drive from Birsay.

The Goal

The seller has offered us a “full service” package for the price of $53,000 USD (approx. $65,300 CAD at the time of writing). This amount includes him restoring 644 to display quality and the cost of delivery from Maine to Saskatchewan where he will reassemble it. Not included are the cockpit furnishings that were sold to Turkey as spare parts by the military and, of course, no engine.

The current vision is to have an unveiling/dedication ceremony for the monument in late summer/early fall of 2022, but will depend on the progress of fundraising and the state of the country with regards to travel at the time.

How To Donate

Funds are being received into a Bank of Montreal trust account: “Wally Niemi Starfighter Project Trust” – #0402 8980-010.
You can send donations to this account using one of the following methods:

  • Credit cardGoFundMe
    • Note that 2.9% + $0.30 per donation go toward credit card processing fees
  • Interac e-Transfer using the email address [email protected]
  • At a bank (BMO or otherwise), designate your donation to the above account.
    • If from a non-BMO bank you may need to specify Bank of Montreal, Tweed, Ontario, branch 0402
  • Wire transfer – SWIFT code BOFMCAM2 – transit 04022 – account 8980-010

Letter From Nicki

For more details about the project and background about Wally and the CF-104 Starfighter, you can download this letter written by Nicki (Niemi) Cammack, project leader and sister to Wally.