Sulphur River is also a supporter of charitable organizations and veterans’ groups such as Wounded Warriors in the metroplex: so when CEO Rex Corey, Jr. read the recent Dallas Morning News article about Gilmer’s Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum providing the vintage warbird fly-past for the annual Downtown Dallas Veterans Day parade, he wanted to express his support.
Enter Jack G. Langston, Oil and Gas Property Manager for Sulphur River/East Texas.
Last week, Langston called Steve Dean at the museum. He said Corey was pleased to read about the museum in the Dallas paper. He said Corey was looking forward to the Dallas Veterans Day Parade, and especially watching the Flight of the Phoenix Escadrille do the honors.
Traditionally, the flight mission is reserved for active duty military jets from Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls. This year, due to military sequestration and federal budget restraints, vintage warbird museums around the country, like Flight of the Phoenix in Gilmer, are being called upon.
“It is quite an honor for the museum, and an awesome responsibility” said museum president Steve Dean. “We’re taking actual WWII equipment—70-year-old equipment—flown by pilots almost as old as the planes, and we are reliably, safely and realistically flying the exact same ceremonial mission as our active-duty military counterparts perform in their modern jet fighters.”
“Businessmen like Mr. Corey understand what it takes to provide men and machines under strict regulatory federal guidelines,” Dean said. “Understanding the costs, appreciating the cause, and knowing the contribution of the men and women of our uniformed services, provide the incentive for businesses and individuals to support charitable 501 (c) 3 organizations such as FOTPAM.”
Dean said that Corey hopes by showing his financial support that he will inspire other individuals and businesses to join in supporting Flight of the Phoenix. The museum was founded by Dean in 1990. It received 501(c) 3 tax exempt status in 1996, and has steadily grown as an educational museum for area students, a local tourist attraction, and as a conservator of area military history.
Located at Fox Stephens Field/Gilmer Municipal Airport, the museum is open 9 to 5 weekdays, and any other time by prior request, for individuals and groups.
Admission is free and donations are welcome.
On Veterans Day weekend, the Escadrille can be witnessed flying for City of McKinney, City of Grand Prairie, City of Dallas, and City of Gainesville patriotic events.
The weekend just past, the team flew ceremonies for City of Bonham, and a Missing Man Formation for Mark Hardin, FBO Manager at the Terrell airport, sponsored by City of Terrell.
Another Gilmer Air Force veteran, Jim Gooch, now of Dallas, will be in the Dallas parade. Gooch will drive his restored WWII jeep with a WWII veteran and a Gulf War veteran as passengers.