By Ken Mist, CAF Red Tail Squadron Volunteer Coordinator

In the lexicon of the aviation enthusiast, no word stirs the heart and mind more than “Oshkosh,” the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture. This annual fly-in is a weeklong celebration in Eastern Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Winnebago, drawing more than a half million participants and over 10,000 airplanes.

The CAF Red Tail Squadron was well represented at this year’s EAA AirVenture by four of the Squadron’s pilots – Doug, Bill, Alan and Paul – along with staff and volunteers LaVone, Marvona, Melanie and myself.

Along with LaVone and Marvona, I had the honor of acting as one of the escorts for Colonel Charles E. McGee, original Tuskegee Airman, as he attended a number of events throughout the week. Interviews, book signings and presentations kept the Col and all of us hopping. The highlight of the week for the Squadron was the Saturday “
Warbirds In Review,” where the Mustang and Col McGee were the stars of the show.

Oshkosh 1We also had the great pleasure of helping the CAF with their introduction of the C-47 “That’s All Brother” to the public. Marvona played the main roles of coordinating the volunteer tour guides and signing up new donors to help get the Douglas Skytrain back in the air. The response was overwhelming!

Oshkosh 2

As the week was winding down, Sunday morning gave us an opportunity to fulfill one of Col McGee’s dreams. With the help of Eddie Ogden of Goodyear Airship Operations, Col McGhee was able to take a ride on the newest member of the Goodyear fleet “Wingfoot One.”

Oshkosh 3

Not content just to ride in the Zeppelin NT, he actually took control for a few minutes bringing his total number of aircraft types flown to 27!

Oshkosh 4

We would like to extend a hearty thanks to the staff and volunteers of the EAA for their hospitality, and offer special thanks to the thousands of enthusiasts we met during the week. Oshkosh may be an aviation event, but it’s the memories of the PEOPLE that you take home with you! We can’t wait to return in ’16!

 

The CAF Red Tail Squadron is a volunteer-driven organization dedicated to educating audiences across the country about the history and legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, America’s first black military pilots and their support personnel. Learn more at www.redtail.org.

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