February 16, 2017 – In January, the Joe Foss Squadron completed the first series of sessions for area Boy Scouts to earn their Aviation Merit Badge. The Squadron partnered with the Civil Air Patrol, EAA Chapter #289 and Avera Hospitals Careflight to make this a great educational experience for the Boy Scouts. The Boy Scouts attended a three-session period over three weeks. Each session was 90 minutes long, and after completing all the sessions, the Boy Scouts received documentation to be awarded the Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge! The first session was a great success, and over 40+ Boy Scouts have already signed up for future sessions! The next session is being planned for March.
On Saturday, February 11th, the Joe Foss Squadron took a field trip to the Fagen Fighters WWII Museum located in Granite Falls, MN. The Squadron was honored to receive a behind the scenes tour of the museum and the restoration shops. Fagen Fighters is currently working on a SB2C Helldiver project and a P-40E project. The Fagen Fighters Museum has an amazing collection of WWII aircraft (almost all airworthy), WWII equipment and vehicles and displays. The airport has been turned into a WWII airfield with a control tower, quonset hut and a German Normandy gun emplacement, just to highlight a few items. If you ever find yourself in the area, this is a must see museum! Thank you to Fagen Fighters for their work to restore and fly WWII aircraft, and for being a great friend of the Joe Foss Squadron!
On January 14th, the Joe Foss Squadron hosted the first presentation of our HomeTown Heroes. The HomeTown Heroes series was created so Squadron members could meet with and learn from wartime experiences of WWII veterans, helping to keep their personal history alive. On Saturday, January 14th, the HomeTown Heroes Series kicked off with SSGT Ken Salisbury, a C-47 radio operator who participated in every major airborne operation of WWII. Salisbury told stories about being shot accidentally down during the airborne operation over Sicily by the US Navy, and then dropping American paratroopers into Normandy on June 6th and British paratroopers into Arnhem during Operation Market Garden. From North Africa to Operation Varsity in Germany, Salisbury had a great view of the war from his C-47. Additionally, his wife Arta who joined him, talked about life on the home front!
On January 26, 2017, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) received the prestigious 2016 New Business/Development of the Year award at the Spotlighting the Cliff Awards event held by the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce at the Kessler Theater in Dallas.
The Headquarter's staff members were in attendance to accept the award. The CAF was honored for the organization’s dedication to preserving American military aviation heritage, for the CAF’s commitment to excellence and for supporting the south Dallas community. The CAF announced the move of the Headquarter's offices to Dallas in 2014. Since then, the offices and staff continue to grow at the Dallas Executive Airport location. Last year, the community presence was especially felt at the CAF Wings Over Dallas Airshow, which will be held again October 6-8, 2017.
In the photo, left to right, CAF staff members Bill Shepard, RozeLyn Beck, Adam Smith, Donna Blalack, Lawanda Strhan, Lindsey Pena, Floyd Houdyshell; and Rodney Burchfield of the Dallas Economic Development Office.
WWII Flying Fortress Moves To Conroe
Photo Credit- Kevin Hong/ SectorKMedia
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) is pleased to announce that one of their World War II aircraft, the B-17 Flying Fortress Texas Raiders, will be moving to a hangar at General Aviation Services on the north side of Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport at the end of January. The vintage heavy bomber is maintained and operated by the CAF Gulf Coast Wing, a group of volunteer members who operate the aircraft as an educational tool to honor and remember those who served our country during World War II.
By the end of World War II the United States and her Allies had deployed the largest air armada the world had ever seen, and 12,731 B-17 aircraft had joined those forces in combat. Today, only about nine iconic B-17 bombers still fly. Texas Raiders was one of the last B-17s ever built, coming off the manufacturing line in July 1945, just as World War II was ending. The aircraft’s military career included scouting, search and rescue and weather reconnaissance. After the War, this B-17 went on to become a seismic survey aircraft and in 1967 was acquired by the CAF to be restored to her military configuration and become part of the CAF’s flying museum.
This year Texas Raiders celebrates 50 years of service to the CAF, and the Gulf Coast wing members continue to offer the public the opportunity to tour and fly on the iconic aircraft. In addition to local appearances, Texas Raiders performs regularly in airshows, civic events and flyovers throughout the U.S., reuniting veterans and the public with the historic WWII aircraft, including performances each year at CAF Wings Over Houston Airshow.
“We are so very pleased to welcome Texas Raiders and the CAF to Conroe,” said Harold Hutcheson, manager of the Conroe Visitor’s Bureau. “She will be a great addition to our community and we look forward to working with her crew.” Texas Raiders is scheduled to land in Conroe at the first of February. The hangar at General Aviation Services will also host a CAF twin-engine cargo plane from World War II, the Navy JRB-6. This year, both aircraft will appear at public events at Conroe airport, as well as other events across the country. For more information, see www.B17TexasRaiders.org
COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH WITH RETURN OF RISE ABOVE TRAVELINIG EXHIBIT
Thousands of North Texas Students to Learn About the Tuskegee Airmen with FREE Hands On Program
The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) will bring its RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit back to Dallas for a free Black History Month program February 6-17, 2017. The CAF invites area schools, churches and civic groups to a free field trip that will provides students with an opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first African-American military pilots and their support personnel.
The CAF RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit is a mobile movie theater operated by the CAF’s Red Tail Squadron, America’s tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen. It features a unique large-format curved screen theater allows students to experience the original 30-minute film, “Rise Above,” in an immersive setting. The film tells the inspirational story of the Tuskegee Airmen and their struggle for civil rights and equality. It also gives viewers the exciting sensation of flying in a rebuilt P-51C Mustang, the signature aircraft of the Tuskegee Airmen.
While emphasizing the valuable life lessons of the Tuskegee Airmen, the program will include goal-setting activities designed to help young people create a path to success while articulating their life goals. Students will also get “hands-on” with history, handling artifacts from World War II. Various veterans including decorated Vietnam veteran and noted actor Willie Minor and others will be onsite during selected hours to meet with students and share their experiences.
“Our goal is to offer a quality and impactful event that will benefit students while honoring the many black Americans who have made important contributions to our country,” said Bill Shepard, program leader and CAF Vice President of Education Bill Shepard. “The Tuskegee Airmen played an important role in black history, and their life lessons can inspire people of all ages to rise above their own obstacles and find success. We’re excited to host this second annual event in the south Dallas community.”
Space is limited for this free event and is booked by reservation only. Contact Tracy Smith at the CAF at (580) 786-6251 or email@example.com to schedule your school, community group or youth organization.
Learn more about the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit at https://youtu.be/A7h4VmIPGBM.
WHAT: Commemorative Air Force Black History Month Celebration
Featuring the RISE ABOVE Traveling Exhibit
WHERE: Commemorative Air Force Headquarters
Dallas Executive Airport 5661 Mariner Drive, Dallas, TX 75237
WHEN: February 6-17 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
*note – most visual day might be Friday, February 10
2017 Atlanta Warbird Weekend to Salute Tuskegee Airmen
Celebrating the Achievements of African-American Pilots
PEACHTREE CITY, Georgia (Jan. 25, 2017) - The amazing accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen in World War II and beyond will be celebrated as the theme of the third annual CAF Atlanta Warbird Weekend Oct. 7-9, 2017, at Dekalb-Peachtree Airport, Chamblee, Ga. Hosted by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing, the weekend will feature the CAF Tuskegee Red Tail Squadron traveling exhibit, RISE ABOVE with its restored P-51 Mustang Tuskegee Airmen.
“We hope to bring dozens of Tuskegee Airmen veterans to share in the acknowledgment of the outstanding history of the black aviators who overcame prejudice and adversity to serve their country so well,” said Dixie Wing Leader Jay Bess. “We also plan to exhibit aircraft flown by the Tuskegee Airmen, including the P-51, P-47, P-40, and trainers used then, such as the BT-13, PT-17 Stearman and T-6.”
Aerial shows each day will feature a B-17 bomber fly-by with a P-51 escort, simulating the missions of the Red Tails in WWII. Also scheduled is a fly-by with a P-51 and an F-16 from the Alabama National Guard. WWII aircraft rides will be available for purchase throughout the weekend, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience for young and old alike. The annual Atlanta Warbird Weekend dinner Saturday night will feature the Tuskegee Airmen at the 57th Fighter Group Restaurant.
Earlier in the week, tours will be provided for Atlanta school children, and the Dixie Wing plans to screen the “Red Tails” movie on Saturday and Sunday. Educational programs will include Warbirds in Review presentations in front of various historic aircraft, and planned appearances by an F-16 from the Alabama Air National Guard (ANG). The 100th Fighter Squadron (100 FS), a unit of the Alabama ANG, was one of the Tuskegee Airmen squadrons during World War II. It was one of the famous all-black squadrons of the 332nd Fighter Group, activated on Feb. 19, 1942 at Tuskegee Army Air Field, Ala. It was returned to duty in 2007, replacing the Alabama ANG 160th Fighter Squadron, so the state could honor the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen.
- Photo: Image00001.jpg > P-51C Tuskegee Airmen photo by Luigino Caliaro -
- Period Photo: Pilots of the 332d Fighter Group, "Tuskegee Airmen," the elite, all-African American 332d Fighter Group at Ramitelli Airfield, Italy. From left to right, Lt. Dempsey W. Morgran, Lt. Carroll S. Woods, Lt. Robert H. Nelron, Jr., Capt. Andrew D. Turner, and Lt. Clarence P. Lester.
- Photo F-16 AANG: Alabama Air National Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons descend into Campia Turzii, Romania, Oct. 13, 2015, after flying from Montgomery, Alabama. Four F-16 Fighting Falcons and approximately 150 Airmen from the 187th Fighter Wing, Alabama Air National Guard participated in Dacian Viper, a training deployment to Romania designed to increase readiness to conduct combined air operations and to meet future security challenges. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew Bruch/Released)