CAF Event to Honor the Women of the Greatest Generation

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WWII Heritage Days highlights include USAF speaker, women veterans, noted author and swing dancer.

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The sights and sounds of The Greatest Generation will come alive when the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing hosts the eleventh annual “WWII Heritage Days” April 26-27, 2014. The history festival will be held at The Historical Airpower Facility, Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field, Peachtree City, GA from 9am-4pm both days.

The weekend will again feature historic aircraft, antique cars, vintage military vehicles, guest speakers, education displays, demonstrations by reenactors portraying Allied and Axis troops, and activities for school age kids. Highlights include an opening ceremony recognizing local WWII veterans and a 1940’s hangar dance.

The theme of the 2014 opening ceremony, Honoring The Women of The Greatest Generation, will pay tribute to women who served in the military and on the Home Front. Lt Col Nancy Dakin, USAF will be the key note speaker for the program, while Peachtree City Mayor Vanessa Fleisch will welcome visitors to Peachtree City. Colonel Dakin is a pilot and Commander of the 116th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 116th Air Control Wing, Robins Air Force Base. Maj Gen George Harrison, USAF, Ret. will serve as master of ceremonies.

Activities begin Saturday at 9:30am with a patriotic music program performed by Bombshells United.

At noon, the public while have an opportunity to three women of The Greatest Generation when a Rosie the Riveter and two female Army veterans share their stories. Betty Bishop helped assemble Bell P-63 King Cobras, while Gisela Titman and Myrtle Faye Edwards both volunteered in the Women’s Army Corps. Betty Bishop will be reunited with a King Cobra for the first time in 70 years when she inspects the Dixie Wing’s P-63 under restoration.

Almost 400,000 women served in and with the armed forces during World War II, including 74,000 women in the American Army and Navy Nurse Corps. More than 1,000 women served as pilots associated with the US Air Force in the WASP (Women Air Force Service Pilots), but were considered civil service workers, and weren't recognized for their military service until the 1970s.
On July 1, 2009 President Obama signed into law S. 614, a bill awarding a Congressional Gold Medal to the WASP.

When the United States entered WWII in 1941, 12 million women were working outside the home. Four years later when the war ended, the number was up to 18 million (one third of the workforce), including 3 million women who worked in war plants. Today, women who worked in the defense industry are often referred to as Rosie the Riveter.

Saturday evening will bring back the Big Band sound at “Keep ‘em Flying”, a 1940s theme hangar dance fundraiser featuring The Peachtree Jazz Edition. Proceeds from the dance offset the cost of WWII Heritage Days, aircraft preservation and “Education Through Living History”, the group’s WWII history program made available to schools and youth groups free of charge.

Sunday will feature former Navy pilot and noted Pacific War historian and author Bruce Gamble providing a presentation from his latest book Target: Rabaul, the final installment of the acclaimed trilogy about the allied siege of Japan’s stronghold in the Pacific. Gamble’s previous books included histories of the famed Marine Corps VMF-214 “Black Sheep” and Medal of Honor recipient Major Gregory “Pappy” Boyington.

The activities kick-off with WWII Heritage Days volunteers visiting local schools in Coweta and Fayette counties, providing exhibits and demonstrations. The outreach program has allowed WWII Heritage Days to support local teachers focus on WWII history.

“WWII Heritage Days is a living history classroom,” said Jim Buckley, CAF Dixie Wing leader “Over 200 volunteers from twenty-five organizations join us in creating the weekend.” The event draws World War II history enthusiasts to Peachtree City from throughout the southeast.

Participating organizations include the American Rosie the Riveters Association, Atlanta History Center, Five-oh-First, Kellys’s Zeroes, Kennesaw State University’s Museum of History & Holocaust Education, Marine Corps League, Museum of Aviation, Naval Sea Cadets, 1st Infantry Division (reenacted), 134th IR134 "Hoch und Deutschmeister" and the U.S. Army Signal Corps Museum.

Why turn a flying museum into a classroom? “Our goal is to preserve and teach the story of The Greatest Generation, the men and women who won the Second World War,” explained Buckley.

Suggested donation for “WWII Heritage Days” is $5. Active duty military in uniform and Children 5 and under free. “WWII Heritage Days” will be held rain or shine. Please no pets. Advance tickets for “Keep ‘em Flying” are $50, $60 at the door. Reserved tables and group discounts available. All ticket sales final. For tickets call 678-654-2464. For more information about the weekend, please visit or call 678-364-1110.

The Commemorative Air Force is a non-profit organization dedicated to flying and restoring World War II aircraft. Based in Midland, Texas, the organization has over 9,500 members and operates a fleet of over 150 World War II aircraft.

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