Official WOF SiteU.S.of AirWings of Fun! • Ghost Squadron • Volunteer SpiritRC PlanesWOF 2005
- Words and Pictures by Max Haynes -
The Commemorative Air Force has another name- Ghost Squadron. It's a nod to the many who gave everything for our country. On this Memorial Day weekend, it struck me that the many reenactors walking the grounds of the air show were like the ghosts of those gone before.
In addition to reenactors dressed as American and Canadian soldiers there was a squad of German soldiers as well. I wasn't sure what to think of these guys. My childhood indoctrination held that the German soldiers were always the bad guys. This idea came from movies, the TV show Combat and from my own backyard wars with toy guns and surplus army gear.
They seemed nice enough, not crazed Nazi sympathizers.
Still, they were plotting something.
And so were the Allied troops. There would be a skirmish between the two forces out in the grassy terain of the airport's infield. I thought if I could hide over in the German area of the battleground I could cover the action best. This involved working with the Germans and wearing a German cap and smock. I was dealing with the enemy!
The Japanese struck first in the Wings of Freedom airshow narration. I scampered across the taxiway in my outfit and hunkered down in the weeds to await the soldiers.
Scott Romuld in his T-6 chased Doug Jackson and his Zero 101 replica from the skies and back onto the runway for a treacherous crosswind landing.
The temperature was hovering at about 97 and humid when the Germans showed up to take their positions. Maybe it was the heat but I had a moment of panic- it was the Germans! Should I run? Take cover? I decided to shoot them all. . .
with my camera.
Taken the day before, this image of Steve Zoelle and the CAF's BT-13 shows how close we were to the action on the taxiway.
As Little Horse and its P-51 Merlin engine roared by, the Germans opened fire.
The P-51 struck back with nearby explosions provided by the TORA Pyro team.
The T-6 Thunder group flew over in formation, adding to the noise and power of the experience.
Then the American soldiers attacked and all heck broke loose. Explosions were popping off all over the place, including right over my head. The crates I was using for cover were being used by a German soldier as well.
The Germans seemed to have the advantage . . .
. . .until a grenade went off, showering us all with dirt and debris.
Paul Ehlen and Little Horse roared by again, adding to the noise and confusion of the battle scene.
The Americans were advancing right into our midst, I felt like throwing up my hands in surrender but the German behind me beat me to the punch.
He was taken prisoner and I was left alone, as if I were the one who was a ghost, haunting another time and place.
Allen Johnson and his Maltese 0-1E (L-19) rolled by as the battle was winding down.
But the Tora Pyro team and Darrel Massman's AC-47 capped off the experience with a huge wall of fire. War is hell, but the Wings of Freedom Air Show is a helluva lot of fun! To see more WOF Reenactor Photos click here
Official WOF SiteU.S.of AirWings of Fun! • Ghost Squadron • Volunteer SpiritRC PlanesWOF 2005
- Pictures by Max Haynes -