Alongside the rest of the country, Alpha Industries is celebrating National Military Appreciation Month this May by honoring all who made the ultimate sacrifice defending these United States. With our headquarters based just outside Washington D.C., we’re proud to call the capitol “home” and look forward to every opportunity to stay deeply connected to our country’s heritage. We’ll show our utmost appreciation for the nation’s greatest generation this week as part of a three-day celebration in the capital.
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Victory of Europe (VE) Day and the end of World War II, the skies of Washington D.C. will play host to the Arsenal of Democracy: World War II Victory Capitol Flyover on Friday, May 8, 2015. There will be more than two dozen types of aircrafts flying in historical war bird formations, with each formation representative of major battles, from Pearl Harbor through the final air assault on Japan, concluding with a missing man formation to “Taps.”
This flyover will feature one of the most diverse arrays of World War II aircraft ever assembled, and the Alpha team will be on site taking in all the action. Keep an eye on the Alpha Industries blog and social media channels to see photos from the event. For more information about the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover, visit ww2flyover.org
Today a few of us from the Alpha team attended the press day for the World War II Victory Capitol Flyover at the Manassas Regional Airport. Four of the planes that will be participating in the event tomorrow are using the airfield as home base. Before we went out to see the planes we heard from the organizers of the event including Pete Bunce, President and CEO of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association. He summed up the event best when he said, "We aren't able to drive tanks down Independence Avenue, we are not able to put ships in the Tidal Basin, but we can do this historial aircraft [event] to commemorate land, sea and air battles." After introducing the WWII veterans in attendance he went on to tell them, "When we put this together there was only one purpose in mind. To honor you and this Greatest Generation. As aviators we are able to tell the story of what your generation did."
Five WWII veterans were at the press day sharing memories of their WWII service. Colonel Bud Anderson told the story of his participation in the European theater; his mission was to take out the Luftwaffle so the rest of the invasion could be successful. He explained how lucky he was to be able to "do what every fighter pilot in the world wants to do, engage the enemy." Also in attendance were Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Robert Vaucher, who piloted the first B-29 Superfortress Heavy Bomber and Mr. Karning Thomasian, a member of the Army Air Corp who was a left gunner on a B-29 Superfortress and taken as a POW in the 1944 Ragoon Disaster. Both men were accompanied by their daughters. We spoke with Mr. Thomasian's daughter Karla who shared how much it meant to both her and her dad that she was able to sit in the same seat he did in a B-29. She said she could only imagine the bravery these men showed; "no matter how much training one has, nothing can prepare you for when the bullets start flying."
Outside we were able to get a closer look at a B-29 Superfortress, a B-24 Liberator and two B-17 Flying Fortresses. The B-29 at the event was found in a Navy Proving Ground in California and was being used as a missle target. The Commemorative Air Force rescued and restored the plane and it is the only remaining B-29 that still flies. The B-24 Liberator was the 25th of the 18,000 produced. It never saw combat but did fly cargo missions in the U.S. Only two B-24 Liberators exist today that are able to fly. One of the B-17s was manufacturerd in July 1945; one of the last of WWII. It was restored to the B-17G configuration that flew with the US Army Air Force in the European Theater during WWII. She is called the Texas Raiders after the state she resides in as part of the Commemorative Air Force fleet.
Take a look at photos and video from the event and stay tuned for more from the flyover on Friday. If you would like to watch the flyover you can view the live webcast at http://www.ww2flyover.org.
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