Annual Air Show Held In Gilmer - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/8/05-Longview

Annual Air Show Held In Gilmer

A salute to flight, and the pilots who have defended freedom through history, was the focus of an annual air show in Gilmer today. It was the Fifth Annual Flight of the Phoenix Air Show at Fox Stephens Field, with numerous vintage aircraft on the ground and in the air.

"Everybody has a fascination with flight and I think it goes back to the 20's and 30's when they used to do barnstorming and people got used to it," said stunt flyer and Vietnam veteran Scott Perdue.

But today's event was dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the end of World War Two and the men of Navy Fleet Air Wing 17. The first pilots to fight in the second World War, and decorated flyer, Peppy Blount, made it clear to the crowd.

"We've gathered here today to pay honor to those World War Two veterans of VPB 101, the First Navy Squadron to see action in World War Two" said Blount, who was given the distinguished flying cross for his service as a World War Two pilot.

Veterans could see their youth in the vintage war planes, and remembered a time when they gave all.

"It's long overdue. I think many of these people here today have been born after World War Two and they don't know anything about it, and it's important that we remember the sacrifices," says World War Two marine veteran, Bill Pate.

There was a spectacular fly over by an Air Force F-117 Nighthawk Stealth Fighter.

"You're out there with the wind its like driving a convertible, you smell the wind your part of your environment," says Perdue.

Relatives of the Squadron 101 Navy Pilots were on hand at the show today to receive honors for their family members.

Bob Hallmark reporting, bhallmark@kltv.com

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