Huge air show to honor vets
Fly-overs, vintage military vehicles, part of celebration
Nov 05, 2009 | 2872 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photos / Mac Overton<br>
THE VETERANS AIR SHOW is coming up Saturday at Fox Stephens Field /Gilmer Municipal Airport, officially titled the Veterans Day Open House Barnstormer Fly-In Warbird Airmeet. Two vintage military vehicles are being displayed at Gilmer car dealers to help publicize the event. Here, this Dodge “Beep” weapon and troop carrier saw action at the beaches of Normandy three days after D-Day in WWII. It was shown on the Battleship Texas in the movie Pearl Harbor, and was used in Sidekicks. It is at Mike Craig Ford. Next photo, the Ferret MK 2/3 was made for the British Army and saw use in West Germany and Northern Ireland. It carries a .30-caliber Browning machine gun and six smoke grenade launchers. This Ferret was used in Universal Soldier II. It is at  Yazell Chevrolet. The vehicles are from Toyland Combat Vehicles museum of Rusk, and were restored by Tom and Jan Townsend.
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A great Air Show and Fly-Over will be held this Saturday, the weekend before official Veterans’ Day observances across the U.S. and around the world On Nov. 11,” said Steve Dean, organizer of the event.

The Air Show will honor the nation’s veterans, with Lt. Col. Phillip V. Maywald, G.H.S. ’59, U.S. Air Force Academy ’63, being a special guest.

Maywald received the Air Force Cross for actions taken to help rescue a fellow Forward Air Controller when he was downed in southern Laos in May 1967.

The tenth annual family-oriented patriotic event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fox Stephens Field/Gilmer Municipal Airport, located on U.S. 271 South in Gilmer. Admission for the show is free and gates will open at 9 a.m.

Gilmer’s Fox Stephens Field is named in honor of USAF Col. Robert L. “Silver Fox” Stephens. Stephens served as the test director and chief test pilot for the super-secret SR-71 Blackbird at Edwards AFB, Calif. during the 1960s.

Gilmer’s Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum was founded to preserve and honor the contributions of Stephens and other hometown men and women who have served in uniform.

Military pilots from the 917th Air Force Reserve Group at Barksdale ABF, La. are scheduled to provide formation jet fly-overs in a flight of two Republic A-10 Warthogs, and a single high-speed flyover by a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress.

Vintage WW II trainer, fighter, and transport aircraft will be on static display for the pleasure of the attendees. A rare antique example expected to fly in is a beautifully restored Cessna T-50 Bobcat, also know as the Bamboo Bomber.

In addition, three very rare vintage civilian airplanes, a 1929 Travel Air 4000, a Howard DGA 15-P, and a V-77 Gull Wing Stinson will be flown and displayed throughout the day.

“Warbird formations of Beechcraft T-34’s, North American T-6’s, and Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs will churn the skies over Gilmer, to the delight of airplane lovers of all ages,” Dean said.

Honor guards from the International Alert Academy, from the USAF Junior ROTC and members of the Gilmer High School Band will post the colors and provide the centerpiece for the military veterans’ tribute portion of the day’s program. This will occur during the noon hour in conjunction with the military aircraft fly-overs.

Mayor Buck Cross and the City of Gilmer are hosting a coffee for all veterans at the airport terminal building, beginning at 10 a.m.

The Gilmer Rotary Club will dedicate a new memorial marker at the airport terminal building Memorial Flower Gardens in memory of Amy Dean at 10:30 a.m.

At noon, the veterans will parade from the terminal building onto the airport grounds in a convoy of Vintage Military Vehicles.

The “Veterans Tribute Ceremony” will begin at noon with Mayor Cross assisting U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler), Texas Sen. Kevin Eltiffe (R-Tyler) and State Rep. Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola).

Renowned aviation artist R.T.Foster from Oklahoma City, official artist of the museum, will demonstrate painting nose art on special warbirds in attendance. Vintage and classic aircraft, antique cars, and military recruiting displays, PT-17 Stearmans from the CAF Wing in Marshall, PT-19 ‘Cornell’s’ from the CAF in Corsicana, and the ETMC Air Ambulance will round out the patriotic feast for the eyes and ears,” Dean said.

Warbird rides are offered in the vintage warbirds: the T-6 “Texans”, the Stearman PT-17s, and Cessna L-19 Bird Dogs. Airtours will be offered in the historic Travel Air 4000 passenger ship. Rides may be scheduled on line. Log onto www.flightofthephoenix.org to schedule and pay for your flight on-line.

Food, snacks and refreshments will be served continuously throughout the day.

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF— ­formerly known as the Confederate Air Force)will have a PX selling aviation memorabilia and the Historic Aviation Memorial Museum from Tyler will offer a museum gift shop featuring aviation art and holiday gift ideas.

Handicap and accessible accommodations are provided.

Just tell the parking attendant your requirements, Dean suggested.

“Rather than dun our loyal sponsors in a down economy, we’ve opted to fund our museum budget this year through a raffle of a 1989 Cadillac Sedan de Ville and a 1965 Piper Cherokee 140,” Dean said.

The car and the plane are licensed and fully operational. Details for the raffle are available on the museum website. Raffle and event details are on line at www.flightofthephoenix.org.

For further information. contact Dean, Museum and Show Director, Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum, at 903-790-7435 or e-mail fotpam@gmail.com .
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