Warbirds at the 2015 Joint Base Andrews Air Show

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Written by Daniel O. Myers, photos by the author. Government budget cuts and a federal sequestration precipitated a four year suspension to the Joint Base Andrews air show. Returning with renewed enthusiasm, the theme for 2015 was "America's Airfield: Celebrating History, Celebrating Freedom.” The celebration was an opportunity for the Joint Base to say "Thank You" to the community, the state and the National Capital Region for all of their incredible support. The air show was a culmination of weeklong activities in the National Capital Region, including the Air Force's birthday and recognizing the U.S. Navy Reserve’s one hundred years of service.

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In honor of the 70th Anniversary to the end of World War II, B-25 Miss Hap, the world’s oldest B-25 flying and the personal plane of General Hap Arnold, flew with B-25 Panchito. On board Panchito was DAV retired Brigadier General George Bartlett who had flown seventy-five B-25 missions. Panchito, piloted by its owner Larry Kelly, has been traveling the country since 1997 with a loaded bomb bay educating the public about the Doolittle Raiders. Each bomb contains numerous signatures of B-25 veterans who starting leaving their mark since 1997. Mr. Kelly doesn’t how many signatures, but suspects there are hundreds - each with its own memorable story to tell.

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The 70th anniversary was further observed with a war bird flight of two P-51 Mustangs (Quick Silver and Bald Eagle) one P-40 War Hawk (The Jackie C.) and a Corsair (JT 416) flying multiple racetrack formations.  The planes then broke for individual strafing that included ground pyrotechnics.  When the war birds landed, the large T-28 Trojan Horsemen trainer aircraft, with their large 1,425 horse-power radial engines growling, taxied to continue the “battle.”   The sixteen member Trojan team consists of former military pilots, decorated veterans, instructors, airline pilots, and experienced civilian air show pilots. To the sound of patriotic music, The Trojan Horsemen T- 28 aerobatic demo team flew their performance in six; four and two- ship formations. With smoke-on, these six historic combat aircraft sported authentic U.S. Air Force, Navy and U.S. Marine Corps paint schemes and markings paid tribute to our nation’s armed forces. The Horsemen’s grand finale’ was a formation break-out with pyrotechnics and returning for a Missing Man to the playing of taps.   The Joint Base is planning a 2017 show; one or two days depending on funding.
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