VET RECALLS HOW AIR POWER TURNED TIDE OF WWII

HISTORIC AIRPLANES ON DISPLAY NEXT WEEK

HOLLISTER, MO — An event benefiting the Branson Veterans Task Force will feature the same historic WWII-era aircraft that ultimately helped the Allies win the war, according to one local Veteran.

“Local WWII Veterans are rare, and we are fortunate to know several through our work with the Task Force.” said Brenda Meadows, President of Branson Veterans Task Force. “It’s such a privilege to speak to them. When you get the opportunity, take the time to ask them about their service, you will be amazed and inspired.”

One recent visit Meadows had with a Branson area WWII Veteran was John McCain, a Battalion Maintenance Sergeant, who traveled throughout Europe with General George Patton. He felt that America really won the war “because of the Air Force.” “I worked on tanks and trucks,” he said. “We pulled them out of ditches and kept everything going. When I would hear and see those planes flying overhead, oh, I thought they were the biggest blessing I ever saw. I just about started crying. Patton was so impressed with our aviators and planes, he prayed the skies would stay clear so he could see them. He loved to see those planes in the air.”

Your opportunity to see them in the air, and fly in these historic airplanes, becomes reality during the AirPower History Tour presented by the Commemorative Air Force and Branson Airport. The event is open to the public starting Wednesday, September 18th through Sunday the 22nd 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Supporting aircraft, a P-51 Mustang, a T-6 Texan, a PT-13 Stearman and a T-34 Mentor will be offering rides all five days. Free cockpit tours of the iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress and the B-24 Liberator are available with admission. The bombers fly Saturday and Sunday morning only.

Adding to the excitement of the event are Aerobatic Air Shows by legendary stunt pilot Mike Galloway that will take place Friday at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. and 12:45 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Want to go? The planes will be staged on the Branson Jet Center ramp located at Branson Airport, 130 Wright Brothers Road, Hollister, Missouri. Daily access is $20 for adults, $8 for children ages 10 through 17, and 9 and under get in free. Rides may be booked at the event or in advance at AirPowerTour.org.

A portion of event proceeds and food sales will benefit local groups, the Branson Veterans Task Force, and the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Programs for area youth.

ABOUT THE CAF B-29 SUPERFORTRESS FIFI

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) acquired FIFI in 1971 when a member found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California. The airplane was rescued and restored by a group of CAF volunteers and has been flying for more than 45 years. Since 1974, FIFI has been traveling coast-to-coast each year honoring the men and women who built, maintained and flew WWII aircraft, and educating the next generation on their service and our history, attracting large crowds at every tour stop. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was first flown in 1942. It began active service in the US Army Air Corp in 1944, and is best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring an end to World War II. The B-29 also was used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until 1960. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule at www.airpowertour.org

ABOUT THE CAF B-24 LIBERATOR DIAMOND LIL

Today, DIAMOND LIL is one of only two airworthy B-24s bombers in existence and is one of the featured aircraft in the CAF AirPower History Tour. The CAF has been bringing LIL to airports throughout the United States since 1968. In the fall of 2018, LIL returned to the skies after a three-year restoration. The Consolidated B‐24 Liberator, first flown in 1939, began active service in 1941 and was the most produced American aircraft of World War II, with 18,482 built. The Liberator was used in every theater of the war and for a variety of missions from long-range bombing and submarine patrol, to transporting high priority cargo and VIPs. Learn more about DIAMOND LIL and her tour schedule at www.airpowertour.org

ABOUT THE COMMEMORATIVE AIR FORCE

Through more than six decades of collecting and flying World War II aircraft, the CAF has become the world’s largest flying museum. Their fleet of over 170 World War II airplanes are assigned to unit locations across the U.S. and are supported by 12,000 volunteer members. Nearly all the aircraft are kept in flying condition, enabling people to experience firsthand the sight and sound of vintage military aircraft in flight. The CAF is dedicated to honoring American military aviation through flight, exhibition, education, and remembrance. To learn more about the Commemorative Air Force, please visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.

ABOUT CIVIL AIR PATROL & CADET PROGRAMS

The Civil Air Patrol is a congressionally chartered, federally supported non-profit corporation that serves as the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force. CAP is a volunteer organization with an aviation-minded membership that includes people from all backgrounds and occupations. Their three missions are Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs and Emergency Services. Located at Branson Airport, the local Table Rock Lake Composite Squadron MO147, has 65 members and growing. Along with over 15 STEM Programs, the squadron will soon have its own Redbird Simulator to assist with aviation training and education. To Learn more visit: www.gocivilairpatrol.com and locally, www.capmo147.com

ABOUT BRANSON VETERANS TASK FORCE

The Branson Veterans Task Force is a 501 (c)(3) organization with a mission of recognizing veterans, fostering patriotism and educating the community on the accomplishments and the history of our veterans. To learn more visit: www.bransonveterans.com

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