Thousands honor veterans at Flight of the Phoenix Air Show
Nov 12, 2009 | 3816 views | 1 1 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mirror Photo / Mary Laschinger Kirby<br>
AFTER SPEAKING at the Veterans Day Fly-in, Phillip Maywald, right, embraces his fellow Gilmer Buckeye, Ron Johns, The two were classmates in Gilmer 1955-59 where Maywald played football and ran track before attending the U.S. Air Force Academy.
view slideshow (3 images)
After the morning mist burned off, guests at the 10th Annual Veterans Day Air Show and Fly-in Saturday enjoyed a perfectly clear, blue sky as they watched the various war birds and other planes fly by.

Several thousand are believed to have attended the event at Fox Stephens Field-Gilmer Municipal Airport.

Lt. Col. Phillip Maywald, USAF (ret.), the honored guest, used his remarks to express appreciation for the preparation he received in Gilmer High School for his future career.

First, he recognized many of his Borden and Maywald relatives in the audience.

“When I went to the Latch Baptist Church, of the 60 there, I think 50 were my relatives,” Maywald told the assemblage.

His mother now lives in Texarkana, where he stayed the night before.

His grandfather, Clyde Borden, died the summer before high school, and Maywald came to live with his grandmother, Nola Borden.

“I want to say thank you to Henry McClelland, Mrs. Eunice Hart, Mrs. Elizabeth Crosby, Coach Truitt Rattan and my principal, Leonard Pickitt,” Maywald told the group.

“They taught me well enough to get in the Air Force Academy with guys who had a couple of years of college or who had come from larger high schools,” the former test pilot explained.

“To be in sports here helped give me the confidence to succeed in life,” he continued.

Today the recipient of the Air Force Cross for actions during the Vietnam War continues to fly and to train pilots in becoming instrument rated. Maywald lives in Tennessee with his wife, Bobby, a native of Mineola.

After the Veterans Day ceremonies, the Buckeye graduate mingled with former classmates and relatives before enjoying the aerial demonstrations.

Following the platform presentations, two A-10 Warthogs and a B-52 flew over, the T-34 Beechcrafts concluded their segment with the Missing Man Formation, and the L-19 Bird Dogs and O-2 flew in mock reenactment of Maywald’s rescue of Major Gerald Dwyer,

In his remarks, Maywald pointed out contacts he had in Vietnam with other Buckeyes; Lt. Gen. John L. Pickitt, Sidney Henson, Manion Mathis, Billy Wayne Manchen, his cousin Micky Wallace who went on to fly with Trans World Airlines, and Carl Bryant.

Even the man he rescued was a classmate of Pickitt.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
Larry Cooper
March 07, 2010
All I know is that this guy is made of gold, titanium, and platinum. How deserving that he be honored in this way. Strong, tough, and with a determination to succeed, he always had a gentle quality that only a true warrior can exhibit. He was a great leader and I was privilaged to have worked with and for him. A truly exceptional man with exceptional athletic skill. Now I can look back and see his citation and a written history of the events surrounding this extraordinary hero.

In any event, it stands to reason that I decided to look up Phil after watching BAT-21 on cable and wondering about his personal story. How pleasantly surprised I am that his story about doing the right thing in another man's moment of need is now published all over the internet for others to read, admire, and most importantly, to follow.

I miss you and think of you often. I think to myself: what would Phil do? Well done Airman, well done.