Commemorative Air Force takes Air Show attendees down memory lane
By Senior Airman April Bachler, 139th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 03, 2010
ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- -- Members of the Commemorative Air Force, a nonprofit organization, provided static displays of World War II airplanes for viewing and knowledgeable pilots to answer questions and educate the public about the past as part of the Sound of Speed Air Show May 1-2 at Rosecrans.
Phil and Kim Pardon, both members and pilots, own the L-19 Cessna displayed at the air show. Their dedication to military history was evident when they chose to participate and personally finance the display of their plane for the benefit of CAF and the public.
CAF provided two planes and accompanying pilots for the occasion, Ron Wright and Gene Linder.
"We exist to restore and maintain in flying condition examples of aircraft manufactured during the Second World War," said Wright. "We have expanded our mission to include the Korean War and Vietnam."
Linder enjoys telling stories from when he was a tank gunner instructor at Fort Knox, Ky., during the Korea Police Action. For display, he flew in his own Piper HE-1 used for medical evacuations during WWII.
"This plane is one of four still flying. It was built in 1942 which was the last year they made them," said Linder. "Only 100 planes of this kind were built."
Wright pilots the Stearman PT-13 which is a biplane with an open cockpit.
"The plane was restored and donated to CAF by a long time member, Tom Hall," said Wright. "I do it for the passion of old aircraft. I was born in 1943 during the war and my dad was a pilot with TWA."
Pardon, Linder and Wright belong to the Heart of America Wing, which is part of CAF.
Seventy wings belong to the CAF, headquartered in Midland, Texas, with approximately 9,000 members filling its ranks. For more information about the CAF or the Heart of America Wing's Annual Air Expo, visit www.KCGhostSquadron.org.