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Dolly Parton Flies High

Singer-songwriter Dolly Parton's military efforts were recognized Friday morning when her image was unveiled on one of the aircraft of the 134th Air Fueling Wing of the Air National Guard out of Knoxville, Tenn.

Parton's likeness on the nose of air refueling aircraft, which also carries the name "Miss Dolly," is an unusual honor.

It has not been used with regularity since the 1940s; many people will remember such likenesses of Betty Grable and the Memphis Belle.

Parton says, "I felt like those gals in World War II and I thought, 'This is something,' and it was a greet honor and I am truly very proud, proud of it."

The aircraft is a KC135 Strato Tanker air refueling aircraft. It flies all over the world and refuels Army aircraft carriers, bombers and support fighters.

"Well, we have had me just about everywhere, but never anything this fun or big," said Parton. "I am an all-American girl and I love America and just to be part of any of this is a great honor for me, so thanks again, all you guys. And I appreciate it."

Parton's last CD was "For God and Country," a collection of new and old patriotic songs Her next tour, called the "Hello, I'm Dolly Tour," will begin Oct. 14 in Greenville, S.C.

Fast facts about Dolly Parton:

  • Dolly Rebecca Parton was born in 1946, the fourth of 12 children, in a cabin with no electricity or indoor plumbing, in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains in east Tennessee.
  • She has sold more than 100 million records.
  • She has two theme parks (Dollywood and Dollywood's Splash Country), her own recording company, and a chain of "Dixie Stampede" dinner theaters.
  • She says she got her musical ability from her mother and her business sense from her father.
  • She was the first of her family to graduate from high school.
  • In 1967, she became a regular on a popular local music program, "The Porter Wagoner Show."
  • In 1974, wanting to make it on her own, Parton split from Wagoner. Although they weren't romantically linked, professionally, it was a painful break.
  • Parton has written about 3,000 songs; she says she has been writing songs since she was 7 years old.
  • She has appeared in movies including "Nine to Five," "Steel Magnolias" and "Rhinestone."
  • She has been married for nearly 40 years to Carl Dean, a construction worker.
  • She has no problem admitting that she has had plastic surgery: "I've had lots of work done. I'll have some more done when I need it. I always said, 'If I see something sagging, bagging and dragging, I'm going to nip it, tuck it, and suck it.' Whatever needs to be done."
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