WWII Flying Museum and Veterans mark historic event

Tue, 12/01/2009 - 5:31pm
By: The Citizen

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing, Honor Flight Fayette and local veterans organizations will join forces on Monday, Dec. 7, to host Peachtree City’s second observance of National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The program will be held at the Historical Airpower Facility, Falcon Field from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

The 2009 Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration will include living history activities featuring vintage military aircraft and vehicles and education displays.  World War II veterans, many who have visited the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. courtesy of Honor Flight, will be in attendance.  A memorial program will begin at noon and conclude with a wreath dedication and taps. 

On December 7, 1941 Japan launched a devastating air raid against the U.S. Pacific Fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. In less than two hours, the United States suffered 3,435 casualties, while also losing 188 aircraft, eight battleships, three light cruisers and four other vessels.

 The United States declared war on Japan the next day.

 In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed into law Public Law 103-308, designating Dec. 7 of each year as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. The day is meant to instill a greater understanding and appreciation of the sacrifice of those who served in the armed services during World War II.  Flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.

“The mission of the Commemorative Air Force is to honor America and her veterans through flight, exhibition and remembrance” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader.  “It’s a privilege to host a Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration.”   

Founded in 1987, the CAF Dixie Wing is the Georgia chapter of the 50 year-old Commemorative Air Force, a 501c3 dedicated to restoring and flying WWII aircraft as tribute to America’s veterans, particularly the Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the Second World War.

Pearl Harbor Day is the second public history program hosted by the aviation preservation unit this year.  In April, “WWII Heritage Days” brought reenactors from throughout the southeast to Peachtree City, recreating skirmishes between American and German troops.  The weekend-long event included “Keep ‘em Flying”, a World War II-theme hangar dance.

The CAF Dixie Wing will display its growing collection of World War II and Korean War-era warbirds, including the “Lady in Blue”, the group’s rare Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber.  Also on display will be aircraft modified to represent an Imperial Japanese Navy Kate torpedo and Zero fighter.  All three aircraft have been featured in motion pictures and television, including “Tora, Tora, Tora”, “Midway” and “Black Sheep Squadron”.

SBDs, nicknamed “Slow But Deadly”, were among the first to strike back at Japan, shooting down an attacker on December 7, 1941 and sinking a Japanese submarine the following day. 

 Members donate their time to maintain each aircraft. Repairs can cost up to $125,000 if an engine must be replaced.  Air show appearances, fund-raisers and donations support ongoing operations of the wing.

"We believe we are stewards of American history," continued Buckley "flying these aircraft preserves an important part of our nation’s heritage.”

Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration is free to the public, but donations are welcome.  Pearl Harbor Day Commemoration will be held rain or shine. Please no pets.  For more information, please visit www.dixiewing.org or call 678-364-1110.

The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft.  Based in Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,500 members and operates a fleet of over 150 World War II aircraft.  www.commemorativeairforce.org

login to post comments