Memorial Day Brings Original Tuskegee Airmen, the B-17 Sentimental Journey and Family Fun to the CAF Museum

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On Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, join the CAF Airpower Museum for a celebration honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

CAF Airpower Museum

On Memorial Day, Monday, May 26, join the CAF Airpower Museum for a celebration honoring those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. The annual Memorial Day Ceremony and Open House begins 11 a.m. at the George H.W. and Barbara Bush Commemorative Center, 9612 Wright Drive in Midland.

In addition to the ceremony, the CAF’s B-17 “Flying Fortress” Sentimental Journey will be on display; a number of airplanes will be opened to allow visitors to sit in a vintage cockpit; face painting and other children’s activities. The event is open to the public free of charge.

“Memorial Day is seen as the start of summer and a day for fun activities with your family, but we also want to remember the deeper meaning of the day,” said CAF Airpower Museum Director Steve Buss. “Memorial Day was created to honor the men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces. Their sacrifice allows us the freedom to enjoy our way of life. Our Memorial Day ceremony, followed by family activities at the museum, is a wonderful way to remember our heroes.”

The annual Memorial Day Celebration includes the induction of eight men to the Texas Medal of Honor Memorial, a traditional flag ceremony, a presentation from the Permian Basin Honor Flight, and a flyover of vintage CAF aircraft. The ceremony will also feature remarks from Congressman Mike Conaway (R-TX 11th District) and special guest speakers, Dr. Granville Coggs and Theodore Johnson, both original members of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

Following the ceremony, the CAF’s B-17 Sentimental Journey will be available for cockpit tours and rides (additional charge). The B-17 is best-known for its strategic bombing role in Europe during World War II. More than 12,700 B-17s were built during the War. There are fewer than a dozen still flying on a regular basis.

The CAF Airpower Museum will be open free of charge on Memorial Day, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Other activities, located in the Museum’s main hangar include a visit from “Curious George,” made possible by Basin PBS; face painting with Greenie the Clown; Harlan the Balloon Guy; and screenings of World War II-era cartoons beginning at 1 p.m.

Lunch will be available for purchase starting at 12:15 p.m., served by volunteers from the CAF’s High Sky Wing.

At 1 p.m., Dr. Coggs and Mr. Johnson will talk about their experiences during World War II as members of the Tuskegee Airmen. The “Red Tails” often fought on two fronts, one against the enemy and the other as they struggled against discrimination and segregation within the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The George H.W. and Barbara Bush Commemorative Center is home to the state’s largest Medal of Honor memorial. The Texas Medal of Honor Memorial recognizes the valor of Texans who earned the highest military decoration awarded by the United States for service and bravery above and beyond the call of duty. Each year, eight Texas Medal of Honor recipients are added to the memorial.

This year the following men will be inducted into the Texas Medal of Honor Memorial: Franklin M. McDonald, Pompey Factor (Indian War); Silvestre Santana Herrera, Samuel David Dealey, James E. Robinson, Jr. (World War II); John Edward Kilmer (Korean War); Thomas Elbert Creek and Miguel Keith (Vietnam War).

The Memorial Day Ceremony and Open House is made possible through the generous financial support of the Yarborough Foundation. Volunteer support for the event is provided by the CAF’s High Sky Wing and Desert Squadron, The Permian Basin Honor Flight and the Midland Junior ROTC program.

Memorial Day Schedule of Events:
10 a.m. CAF Airpower Museum Opens
Includes the new exhibit saluting the 15th Air Force through the photos of Midland native Harvey Herd
11 a.m. Memorial Day Ceremony – Commemorative Center
National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, Texas Medal of Honor Induction,
Congressman Mike Conaway, Tuskegee Airmen Dr. Granville Coggs, and Theodore Johnson,
Flyover from CAF High Sky Wing aircraft
Noon – Commemorative Center
The B-17 “Flying Fortress” Sentimental Journey will be open for tours (fee charged)
12:15 p.m. Lunch Available – Commemorative Center
1 p.m. Tuskegee Airmen Presentation – Commemorative Center
Join special guests Dr. Granville Coggs and Mr. Theodore Johnson as they talk about their World War II experiences training and serving with the famous Tuskegee Airmen
1 – 3 p.m. Family Activities – Main Hangar
Open cockpit airplanes, face painting with Greenie the Clown, Harlan “The Balloon Guy,” and vintage cartoons
4 p.m. CAF Airpower Museum Closes

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