CAF Education Webinar Series
Commemorative Air Force Webinar Series is produced by the CAF Education Department. These webinars capture the great stories of the people, places, and things that have contributed to our freedom. Each story told takes you on an adventure- whether honoring a historic occasion, preserving a significant artifact, or discussing the legacy created by the Greatest Generation.
TEXAS EDUCATORS: The CAF is now a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) provider through the Texas Education Agency (TEA). Currently, educators are able to receive credit for our online webinar series (see below). Once we are able to resume face to face operations, we will roll out in person training.
For more information on CPE programs and the process to receive documented credit, please email Vice President of Education, Nancy McGee, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scroll down to see videos of past webinars.
War Dogs - Soldier Dogs: TAILS FROM THE MESS HALL
Canine historian Brian Patrick Duggan shares about dogs who served in military roles. Brian Patrick Duggan, M.A., is the author of General Custer, Libbie Custer and Their Dogs: A Passion for Hounds from the Civil War to Little Bighorn and the award-winning Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West – the result of over 14 years of research in archives, museums, and libraries in three countries. His extensive knowledge of military service animals is bound to fascinate the history lover (or animal lover) in all of us.
Tex Hill Wing - Hands - On Restoration Project
The CAF's Tex Hill Wing is a group of members located in San Antonio, Texas. This group has a thriving cadet program which engages young people interested in learning more about aviation in a very hands-on way. The cadets in the Tex Hill wing are working on an interesting restoration project of a replica Japanese aircraft. Join us for a talk with the cadets about this project and what draws them to historic aviation.
All About Airshows
The International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) is dedicated to supporting the air show industry. Focusing on industry standards on behalf of directors, performers, and crowds world-wide. This week join John Cudahy, ICAS President, and Adam Glowaski, ICAS Marketing Director for a discussion about the history of airshows, why airshows are more than entertainment, and what the future holds for aviation events.
B-17 TEXAS RAIDERS - LEARN ABOUT THE FLYING FORTRESS
As of 2020, there are just five B-17s still actively flying in the world. B-17G Texas Raiders (TR) is one of the most recognized and famous of the Flying Fortresses currently on the airshow circuit. The aircraft has been restored to wartime configuration inside and out by an entirely volunteer group of dedicated supporters. The aircraft has one of the most unusual histories of any existing Flying Fortresses flying today and is one of the most active and visible.
Of all the B-17s ever built, Texas Raiders is credited with the 5th most military time, is the 3rd youngest still in existence, and has served as a Living History museum longer than any other B-17 in the world. As of 2020, Texas Raiders has served in the CAF’s Mission to Educate, Inspire, and Honor, for 53 years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
ASK BRAD ANYTHING!
For more than 60 years the CAF has worked to restore, maintain, and fly World War II aircraft. During this time the CAF has created quite a bit of its own history. This week's featured guest Brad Pilgrim has grown up in the CAF and is the CAF's Official historian. He was a C-130 and C-17 Loadmaster in the USAF and retired after 20 years in 2012. He currently works at Cavanagh Flight Museum. Now's your chance to ask Brad anything. He probably knows the answer.
Karnig Thomasian - WWII Veteran, B-29 Gunner, Survivor of the Rangoon Disaster, POW
Join us for a conversation with Karnig Thomasian about his experience as a young solider. Thomasian left New York City to join the war effort and fight for freedom. He will discuss his participation and survival in the Rangoon Disaster. An ill fated mission where only one of the 11 B-29 Superfortresses on the mission returned to homebase. Eighteen men died, 29 airmen were captured, Thomasian was one of the men whom survived thanks to his quick thinking, sturdy parachute, and a strong will to make it back home.
Ike's Bird - The First Air Force One An Aero Commander
The factory drawing for Aero Commander serial number 55-4638 is titled Ike’s Bird. Built in 1955, the plane and several others were ordered by the government for a special purpose… to carry the President, Vice President and other government officials on short trips. The plane has the distinction of being the smallest aircraft ever to carry the “Air Force One” call sign.
The primary mission of the CAF’s Ike’s Bird *is to fly veterans for free in an historic plane. These flights are called “Victory Flights for Veterans”. Victory Flights are done to honor the veterans service to the nation and our freedoms. A unique feature of *Ike’s Bird is its low entry door. Only one foot off the ground, the Commander can easily accommodate wounded and disabled veterans… men and women who otherwise have great difficulty in climbing into some of the CAF’s World War II aircraft.
Virtual Tour of the Minnesota Wing
Take a trip to Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing based at Fleming Field in South St. Paul. The Minnesota Wing was formed in 1971. It was actually the very first charter unit (satellite location) of the CAF International Headquarters Wing. Originally, the Minnesota Wing operated as a maintenance support arm to help the CAF’s mission and its ever growing fleet of rare aircraft. Today, the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing is home to six aircraft, a large motor pool fleet, and a unique collection of World War II artifacts.
Story of the B-24 Diamond Lil
With beginnings in 1941 as a trainer for the British Air Ministry and Trans World Airlines, to being a luxury executive transport, then working in the fleet at Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Diamond Lil has had a storied past. The tale continued as the CAF took ownership in 1968.
World War II in Alaska
July 11, 3:00 p.m. CDT- While most World War II theaters of operation are well understood, very little is known about the Aleutian Campaign and the Kurils Island Operations that followed. These remote islands off the west coast of Alaska were the scene of the only carrier and land-based bombing of North American targets in history, and the only time since the War of 1812 that a foreign power had occupied American soil on the continent.
Leadership with Jim Lasche
July 8, 3:00 p.m. CDT- Leadership is a key element in any organization’s success. Some are born with natural strengths to lead others, and some need to develop those skills over time. In this webinar the CAF’s Vice President of Aviation Operations and Safety, Jim Lasche, will talk about how leadership is a vital component to how the CAF operates.
Visit the CAF Dixie Wing of Peachtree City, Georgia
The Commemorative Air Force Dixie Wing was granted Wing Charter No. 48 on January 30, 1989. It has since displayed its collection of vintage World War II era aircraft located at the Atlanta Regional Airport in Peachtree City, Gerogia. The Wing is comprised of 200 volunteers and operates a P-51D Mustang, a FG-1D Corsair, one of the three flying SBD-5 Dauntlesses in the world, a P-63 Kingcobra, a T-6 Texan, a PT-19 Cornell and a T-34 Mentor. The CAF Dixie Wing is the only flying museum located in the proximity of the city of Atlanta.
Project Recover is a collaborative effort to enlist 21st Century science and technology in a quest to find and repatriate Americans missing in action since World War II, in order to provide recognition and closure for families and the nation. The mission of Project Recover is to engage a team of volunteers, each with essential expertise (history, aviation, diving, navigation), who are dedicated to locating and assisting with identifying American prisoners of war and missing in action (POW/MIA) from World War Two in Western Pacific Islands. This effort is done through detailed research and exploration while consistently coordinating with appropriate national authorities.
Operation Hailstone: Truk Lagoon served as the headquarters for the Japanese Combined Fleet during World War II. Japan had been mandated the islands of Micronesia following World War 1, and had exploited the natural geography of the lagoon to create a safe haven for their war fleet. On February 17th 1944 American Fleet Task Force 58 launched ‘Operation Hailstone’ – an aerial attack on the runways, planes and ships anchored in the lagoon. Presenter: Colin Colbourn holds a PhD in U.S. History from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has published articles on Marine Corps' history in Leatherneck: Magazine of the Marines, and was Associate Editor for the West Point History of Warfare. Colin lives in Leesburg, VA.
Filmmakers Kara and Adam White will present a behind the scenes look at the new aviation experience Rise Above: WASP. Created for the Commemorative Air Force, the new film about the Women Airforce Service Pilots takes aviation films to a whole new level. Producer Adam White and director Kara White will discuss the production to give folks a behind the scenes look at creating this new ground-breaking film.
Veterans History Project
For two decades, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) has been collecting and preserving the stories of service from our nation’s veterans so that they can be accessible to families, researchers, students, and future generations to learn from and be inspired by. Learn how you can make history by recording the story of service from the veteran or Gold Star Family member in your life by attending this virtual briefing. During the webinar, Kerry Ward, Liaison Specialist, will provide an overview of the Project including the history, participation and how to use the available online resources to learn more about personal veteran experiences from World War I through current conflicts. Participating is simple, meaningful and creates a lasting record of service and sacrifice of American veterans in the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress.
TORA TORA TORA
Travel back in time to December 7, 1941, “a date which will live in infamy,” and join some of the Tora Airshow Performer pilots. The TORA TORA TORA act is one of the oldest running civilian airshow acts in North America. Included in the discussion will be the reenactments they fly to honor our veterans and active military personnel. These incredibly moving and accurate living history reenactments are the result of thousands of hours and hundreds of dedicated volunteers working as ground crew, maintenance, pilots and pyrotechnic experts. Their shows are a dynamic history lesson of the main event that propelled our country into World War II and ultimately winning the fight for freedom.
The D-Day Pilot and the Flight Nurse
Their story is one of duty, bravery, and love. In the face of danger, Capt. Vito Pedone and 1st Lt. Geraldine (Jerry) Curtis (Pedone), met and fell in love while serving overseas. Vito Pedone, was the co-pilot who flew the lead D-Day Pathfinder Troop Carrier C-47. Jerry Pedone was a Flight Nurse with the 806th Medical Air Evacuation Squadron in England. On June 10th 1944, she began flying regular air evacuation missions in the same C-47 as her husband to bring wounded soldiers from Normandy back to England. After WWII, Vito and Jerry’s story of military service would continue. Learn about how Vito would rise to the rank of Colonel during his 30-year distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, participating in many important moments in our nation’s history. By his side, Jerry played an important diplomatic role during their assignments around the world with both foreign military officers and government leaders, contributing to our Cold War strength. Their son, Steve Pedone, Lt. Col., USAF, Retired, will tell the story of his parents, Vito and Jerry. A story that reflects the Greatest Generation’s legacy of service and sacrifice to secure our freedom.
WASP - Trailblazing Female Pilots
Hear the remarkable story of the intrepid women who became the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) during World War II. From 1942-1944, starting with training at Avenger Field in Sweetwater, Texas, just over 1,000 women provided undeniably critical support to the war effort by performing aviation centered jobs, including flying most aircraft the U.S. Army Air Force had in its fleet. Join CAF WASP Squadron members, Ellie Dana and Elaine Webb, as they recount the WASP journey of courage and perseverance to become the first women to fly American military aircraft.
The story of the great mission to rescue a B-29 Superfortress from destruction. Learn about the B-29 Superfortress FIFI and the story of how it was rescued from destruction in China Lake. The airplane was retired in 1958 and placed at the U.S. Navy Naval Weapons Center and bombing range at China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station in California as part of a group of 36 B-29s. The Commemorative Air Force was able to acquire it in 1971 and registered it as a civilian aircraft. The team which was able to procure and quickly restore the B-29 Superfortress enough to fly it out of the desert faced a number of challenges, but their perseverance and passion to save a flying example of this venerable and important aircraft has kept the history and the story of the important mission this aircraft performed alive for decades.
MISSION TO NORMANDY
Throughout 2019, members of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) spent months planning, preparing, and executing one of the CAF’s most worthwhile journeys. A mission to fly two World War II era aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean to participate in the 75th Anniversary of D-Day in Europe. Join members of the aircrew of these missions as they discuss what it was like to be part of one of the world's most momentous anniversaries. The crew will share candid stories of their operational planning, the extraordinary reception in Duxford England, and what it was like to cross the English Channel 75 years later.