May 3, 2017 Edition

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Air show on schedule for Saturday

Gretchen Hunt
Editor

Seventy-five years ago what would become the Walnut Ridge Regional Airport was flooded with personnel as an air field was established to train pilots for World War II.

A different kind of flood is happening this year, as floodwaters rise near the airport, but organizers said all events planned for this weekend are still on schedule.

"We are hopeful that floodwaters will recede and not prevent anyone from being able to attend," Dina Rose, air show committee member, said. "We encourage everyone to watch the Wings of Honor Facebook page for any changes related to the flooding situation."

Some adjustments are already being made, including things like parking, which was originally planned in fields that will now be too wet.

"We want everyone to just be mindful that there may be last-minute adjustments and to be patient as we adapt to these challenges," Rose said. "But, the show is scheduled to go on as planned, barring any major event."

The weekend's activities will include a dinner Friday night at a cost of $15 a plate, with veterans and their spouses receiving their meal free. Reservations are requested, but individuals can pay at the door.

Speakers will be WWII veteran and pilot Billy Mitchell and Kim Moretto Niemeier, who is the daughter of WRAAF graduate Fred Moretto. Following the meal, attendees will be treated to viewing a parachute jump.

A free air show on Saturday will highlight the weekend's activities, and all veterans in attendance will be recognized. A special recognition is planned for World War II veterans, who are asked, if possible, to notify the museum ahead of time if they plan to attend.

The air show will include a Bulldog Formation performance, Yak Acrobatics, Sukhoi Aerobatics and a Red Thunder performance that features a T-28, Yak-52 and two CJ6s. The audience will also be able to meet performers after the show.

Gates to the airport will open at 10 a.m., with the veterans' tribute and air show starting at 12:15 p.m. There is no admission charge, but there will be vendors and some activities will require a fee.

Saturday's activities will also include a fly-in for pilots, static displays of aircraft, model aircraft and military equipment, children's activities and helicopter rides.

Spectators are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and binoculars.

The Wings of Honor Museum will also be open for public viewing prior to and following the air show.

Volunteers are needed for the weekend, especially for Saturday.

"Some of our volunteers might get pulled in other directions due to the flooding being experienced in Lawrence County and neighboring Randolph County," Rose said. "We anticipate possibly needing additional help with parking, VIP and Veterans tent volunteers, selling T-shirts and souvenir programs and other tasks."

Anyone who is interested in volunteering or who wants to reserve a seat at Friday evening's dinner can call Harold Johnson, Wings of Honor Board president, at 800-584-5575 or email Harold@bscn.com or dinar@cavautogroup.com.

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