EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed Salute to the Greatest Generation in the Air to Honor Doolittle Raiders, Tuskegee Airmen
Doolittle Raiders
Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle (second from left) and his crew, including Lt. Richard E. Cole (second from right), pose in front of a B-25 on the deck of the USS Hornet on April 18, 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Tuskegee Airmen
Retired Major George Boyd (left), retired Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson (second from left) are two of the eight Tuskegee Airmen scheduled to be at AirVenture 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Elizabeth Rissmiller)

Veterans from two legendary World War II military units, the Doolittle Raiders and the Tuskegee Airmen, are among the honored guests this year during the "Salute to the Greatest Generation in the Air" at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2012.

Doolittle Raiders Dick Cole and David Thatcher, two of the remaining five surviving Raiders who in 1942 flew a surprise bombing attack on Japan, are scheduled to appear.

Members of the Tuskegee Airmen, the nation's first African-American fighter pilot group, scheduled to appear include Charles McGee, George Boyd, Bob Ashby, Alexander Jefferson, Washington Ross, Harold Brown, and William Thompson. The Tuskegee Airmen, so-called for their training base at Tuskegee and Maxwell Fields in Alabama, that overcame discrimination at home and abroad to post a superior flying record in Europe.

"We are honored to pay tribute at Oshkosh to those who sacrificed and wrote one of the most important chapters in American and aviation history," said Jim DiMatteo, EAA vice president of AirVenture features and attractions.

On Wednesday, July 25, at 8 p.m., the Tuskegee Airmen and Doolittle Raiders will appear in a must-see special program at Theater in the Woods, sharing recollections from World War II and being honored for their heroic service.

Tuskegee Airmen will be featured in Friday, July 27's 1 p.m. Warbirds in Review session at Scotts Warbird Alley. They will appear alongside a P-51, a T-6 Texan, and a PT-17 that each have the Tuskegee paint scheme.

Warbirds in Review features the Doolittle Raiders at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 28, in Scotts Warbird Alley honoring the 70th anniversary of the historic Doolittle Raiders mission in World War II. Cole, 96, copilot in aircraft No. 1 piloted by Jimmy Doolittle, and Thatcher, 91, engineer/gunner in aircraft No. 7, will appear with the B-25 Panchito.

Additional highlights from the week include:

  • A very special flight is planned for Friday morning - "The First and Last Bombers Over Tokyo" with Dick Cole in the B-25 Panchito and Dutch Van Kirk in the B-29 FIFI.
  • Public forums and autograph sessions featuring the Doolittle Raiders and Tuskegee Airmen will take place during the week.
  • A special screening of Red Tails, introduced by the movie's iconic executive producer George Lucas, will be shown on Wednesday at the EAA Fly-In Theater presented by Ford Motor Company and supported by Hamilton Watches.
  • EAA, American Airlines, and Old Glory Honor Flight Network have again joined forces to give nearly 100 World War II veterans the opportunity to visit the powerful memorials dedicated in their honor with an Old Glory Honor Flight departing from AirVenture on Friday morning. They'll receive a hero's welcome home later that day at 6 p.m. on Phillips 66 Plaza.
  • Special warbird air show extravaganzas, featuring more than 100 vintage World War II aircraft and the special "Tora! Tora! Tora!" tribute to Pearl Harbor survivors, are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.


FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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