View Full Version : "Thunder over Michigan" War in the Pacific

benny rutledge
08-12-04, 10:10 AM
The "Yankee Air Museum" at Willow Run Airport put on a super show last weekend,August 7-8.This years theme was the War in the Pacific featuring one of the largest gatherings of TBM "Avenger" dive bombers ever.17 perfectly restored examples of this rugged single engine Aircraft were in attendance.Also on the Flight Line were several SBD "Dauntless",SB2-C "Helldiver"divebombers as well as the Venerable F4-F "Wildcat",F4-U'Corsair" fighters and a Beautiful example of a PBY "Catalina"from the "Black Cat" squadron.(this bird appeared on Discovery "Wings")The contribution of these Carrier based Aircraft and their Pilots cannot be over looked or forgotten.In June of 1942 the U.S. had cracked the Japanese radio codes,Task Force 16 made up of the Carriers "Hornet","Enterprise" and "Yorktown" set a trap North of Midway Island for the Imperial Japanese Fleet.For two days these rugged Airplanes and their Brave Pilots pounded away at the pride of Japan.When the smoke cleared,all four of the Carriers that participated in the infamous Pearl Harbor raid,lay on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean,along with 350 Aircraft and Combat trained Pilots.These men are truly the "Greatest Generation" and a chance to say "Hello"and shake their hand was a thrill.One of the Aces signing autographs was Marine Major Archie Donohue.The men of the "Tuskegee Airmen" were also in attendance.these Brave men of the "Red Tail" squadron provided Fighter escort for the Heavy Bombers in EuropeThe late Coleman Young(Detroit Mayor) was a Member of this Elite Squadon.The U.S.Navy sent an S3-A "Viking" ASW Aircraft from the Carrier "Enterprise" just returned from the Persian Gulf.The U.S.Marines sent two F-16 "Hornet"s from VMAF(AW)233.3 of the 13 Surviving B-17 Bombers were on hand flying and available for tours.The "Yankee Air Museum"s B-17G "Yankee Lady" was offering rides(space availble) for $400.00.The weather was spectacular and CAVU all day.Honored guests from past Shows included Guenther Rall,Chuck Yeager,The "Doolittle"Raiders and members of the VMA 214 "BlackSheep":marine: :marine: :marine: