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Famous B-29 Superfortress FIFI Helps Win Prestigious Video/TV Awards

AMG 563Two video productions featuring the iconic Boeing B-29 Superfortress, FIFI, and other aircraft maintained and operated by the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), recently won big video awards for 2013.  “If These Planes Could Talk” was the recipient of the Silver Telly Award.  WXIA TV in Atlanta was presented an Emmy for a news feature about a WWII veteran and the B-29.   

Scott Edge with Skygate Studios was commissioned by the Commemorative Air Force B-29/B-24 Squadron to document their first annual CAF Dallas AirPower History Expo in October of 2013. The Telly award-winning video tells the story of the CAF and its mission to keep their over 150 vintage military airplanes flying in order to tell the story of the brave men and women who designed, built and flew them during World War II. With nearly 12,000 video entries from all 50 states and numerous countries, this is truly an honor. The Telly Awards, founded in 1978, honors the very best in film and video productions. 

WXIA –TV in Atlanta, Georgia received a regional Emmy in the Television News Gathering Excellence, general assignment category for the news story “Unusual Sendoff for WWII Veteran.” The story, reported by multimedia journalist Steve Flood and WXIA reporter Jaye Watson, was the account of a funeral flyover performed in May of 2013 for former B-29 navigator Robert Kruer.

Robert Kruer’s family visited the B-29 at its CAF AirPower History Tour stop in Atlanta last May just two days before Kruer’s funeral service. The B-29 crew was able to coordinate a flyover honoring the World War II Veteran. The news video includes footage from inside the aircraft during the flyover as well as the reaction of those on the ground.

A link to the “If These Planes Could Talk” video:

A link to the “Unusual Sendoff for WWII Veteran” video:

CAF Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

CAFHOF Logo copyFor over 50 years the CAF has grown through the efforts of tens of thousands of members. A few of those members have made monumental contributions towards the success and worldwide impact that the CAF enjoys to this day. The CAF Hall of Fame was established to honor those members.

The General Staff recently chose the inductees into the Class of 2015 CAF Hall of Fame:

Colonel Donald H. Woodham

Colonel Stephen W. Barber

The Hall of Fame ceremony and banquet will be held Sat., Feb. 21, 2015 in the George H.W. and Barbara Bush Commemorative Center on CAF Campus. The event is held in conjunction with the Wing Staff Conference.

A full CAF Hall of Fame Exhibit is planned for the future and will house the plaques for each inductee and their memorabilia. 

2014 EAA AirVenture

Dick ColeThis week is the week most aviation enthusiasts wait for all year long- it's the week of the Annual EAA AirVenture. 

On Sunday, July 27, many of the CAF airplanes began to arrive in preperation for the festivities.  The Warbird area began to fill up with a few B-25's as one plane brought in a special cargo. Lt. Col. Dick Cole and his daughter Cindy arrived with the crew of the Miss Mitchell, a B-25 from the Minnesota Wing.  The crew was just delighted to have such an amazing World War II veteran as part of the crew. The Minnesota Wing also brought it's BT-13 and L-5 to the show.  photo 3

The P-51 Gunfighter and the B-25 Devil Dog also made an arrival on Sunday, while the B-24 Diamond Lil came in Monday morning. A group of aviation buff's from New Zealand  were more than happy to pose with Gunfighter for a picture. 

There are so many things to see while at the show from Warbirds to home built aircraft and everything in between. We hope to share a little bit of everything with you over the next week.

One of the newest stars to join the show is the fully restored Lockheed lockheedVega.  Owner and restorer John Magoffin flew the silver and yellow Lockheed from Arizona to the show where you can see her in the Vintage Aircraft area. The Lockheed Vega is housed at the Airbase Arizona with their collection of World War II aircraft where people can come and enjoy the rare bird. 

This year the focus at Warbirds in Review are Vietnam Veterans and the planes they flew. A production company called Sleeping Dog Productions is hosting the review with some amazing footage for the public to view. If you have time to sit in on one of the sessions, take advantage of listening to some of America's heros sharing their stories. members

Wednesday is always a special day at Oshkosh for two reasons, the CAF 


Member's Gathering and EAA hosts a night airshow followed by a wonderful fireworks display. Steve Brown, Adam Smith, and Steve Buss put on a great spread for all of the members at Oshkosh. It was a great chance to get to meet other Units and meet up with old friends. 

 There are many things to see and do at EAA Airventure even if you are not into Warbirds. The airshow itself is full of different acts from the Thunder Birds to a Redbull Helicopter demonstation. There were so many different acts to choose from, each day had something new.  

Boeing Plaza is always a treat with an assortment of different types of aircraft from vintage to modern. This year they had the CAF's very own B-24 Diamond Lil along side a C-17, the newly restored Fairey Gannet XT752, and a V-22 Osprey.  museum

The museum is also a great place to see something you've never seen before. While it's on the otherside of most of the airshow action, it's worth the treck. The EAA Museum has over 200 aircraft in it's collection including a full size replica of SpaceShipOne. While you are at the museum, there's a chance you could take in a show from one of their many exhibitors, like The Restorers. 

With so much to see and do at EAA Airventure Oshkosh, your best bet is to attend one year and see what it's all about. No words can truly describe one of the largest gathering of airplanes in the world! 

See you next year!

Female B-29 Pilot Visits AirVenture 2014

debbieDebbie Travis King, the CAF's only female B-29 pilot visited this year's EAA Airventure Oshkosh and was asked to share her story.


My Father, My Friends a Great Summer Read

product thumbnailMy Father, My Friends a Great Summer Read by Allen Benzing

“My Father, My Friends ~ Memories of World War II” contains a series of intriguing real-life World War II Pilot narratives expertly derived from documents and first-person interviews. It is a tall order to gather information from 70 years ago, decipher and combine it with interviews to create an accurate and readable account of events. Sparky Barnes Sargent shows her expertise by unraveling those experiences and presenting them as first-person accounts that draw the reader into each story.

I met Sargent at EAA AirVenture in 2013 where she visited the Commemorative Air Force B-24 Liberator and told me the story of her father's B-24 mission. A year later, it was with great interest that I read her book on her father's World War II experiences and those of her World War II friends.

The emotions of young men are evident in the daunting challenges they faced again and again. From the risks of learning to fly in a wartime environment to repeated combat missions and the tremendous loss when friends were shot down or mangled in fearsome Kamikaze attacks. One cannot help but be impressed with the abilities and resolve of these young men.

A unique aspect of this book is the parallel account of former crewmates who travelled different paths as the war progressed. Sargent 's father, Homer Barnes, flew as the Radar Operator on a B-24 mission against a U-Boat during which he was wounded. He later transitioned to pilot training while his former crewmates went to battle on B-24s in the Pacific. The combination of these crew stories adds a "what if" perspective that is not often explored.

The inclusion of glider pilots stories add a great deal to this book. While I was aware of the use of gliders, I learned much about the extent of pilot training - indeed a risky endeavor - and was surprised at the number and complexity of missions these men flew. Heroic men, by any measure.

There are many books on fighter pilots and their missions during World War II, but the included fighter stories are special. It was impressive to read the number of different aircraft flown, the wide range of missions and the seemingly reckless abandon they had in being always ready to “Attack, Attack, Attack,” regardless of the enemy defenses- above and beyond the call of duty!

This is a well-researched, skillfully written, book with much history to offer anyone interested in the pilots and missions of the War.

My Father, My Friends and other books by Sparky Barnes Sargent are available by clicking here.

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