They were mass produced to turn the tide of World War 2, and yet relatively few exist today, but at Greenwood Lake Airport on August 18-19, a handful will be on hand to honor all those who served, both then and now. The airshow in West Milford on Saturday and Sunday August 18-19 will feature many vintage aircraft, most notably a vintage B-25 Mitchell medium bomber named "Miss Hap" which was once owned by Howard Hughes and was the personal transport of General "Hap" Arnold, a C-47 transport in D-Day markings and an several Russian aircraft including a cold-war era L-29 jet, as well as acrobatic aviation acts that will stun and excite both young and old.
Special World War 2 veteran guests will include members of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen, African American aviators from World War II most notably featured in the film "Red Tails". These are the men who helped break the race barrier during the war when the nation’s armed forces were segregated. The group, flying P-51 Mustang fighters from Italy, successfully escorted formations of American bombers deep into Germany and never lost an aircraft under their protection to enemy fighter action. The group was a favorite of Eleanor Roosevelt who proved to be their key mentor and benefactor. As recent as 2007, the Tuskegee Airmen were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bush. It is the highest congressional honor that can be awarded to a civilian.
Some notable veteran guests appearing will be:
2nd Lt. Jack Widowski- Jack Widowski was the Navigator from the B-29 "Top Secret" of the famous atomic missions that brought World War 2 to a close.
Lt. Gottfried Dulias- In 1944, at the age of 18, Gottfried was entered into the Air Academy #2 at Berlin-Gatow. He went on to fight in the war, becoming a 5 time ace without actually killing a single pilot, until 1945 when he was shot down over Russian territory. He was captured and sent into a Russian Gulag outside of Stalingrad where he was forced to work 19 hour days hard labor in nearby factories. After 3 years inside the camp, weighing a sickly 67 pounds, Gottfried was released and returned home in 1948.
Lt. JG Robert S. Krause- Robert joined the U.S. Navy in April of 1942 and began a series of flight training that ended in November of 1943. At that time, he was commissioned Ensign A-V and a Designated Naval Aviator. He then completed Primary Flight Instructor’s School in February 1944 and went on to serve as a Flight Instructor for British Naval Cadets flying the Stearman at Minneapolis and Bunker Hill. Krause has also instructed in the OS-2U and the N3N Float Planes. Krause has over 1,200 hours of flight time in the Navy.
From the Tuskegee Airmen:
Julius Freeman - Mr. Freeman was a Tuskegee Airman from 1944 to 1948 who fought in World War II and he is one of the Documented Original Tuskegee Airmen (DOTA). Julius was born in Kentucky and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After the war, he became a prominent car dealer in New York with celebrity clientele that included the Dodgers’ Pee Wee Reese as well as James Brown.
Dr. Eugene J. Richardson, Jr. Pilot, class 45A- Dr. Richardson served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. Eugene was living in Camden, NJ, when he earned the status of Pre Aviation Cadet in the Army Air Corps. He entered active duty in October 1943, at Keesler Field, Mississipi for basic military training. In February, 1944 Eugene went to Tuskegee, Alabama for pilot training and subsequently received his pilot’s wings and officer’s commission on March 11, 1945.
John L. Harrison, Jr.- Mr. Harrison’s military career started in 1943 as an Air Cadet, having graduated (Class of 43K) from Tuskegee AAF. During service John was a pilot on all types of planes in the U.S. Air Force. He became “Command Pilot”, the highest pilot rating in the U.S. Air Force. Over fifty Pacific Ocean crossings and thirty-five Atlantic Ocean crossings as a Military Air Transport Service (MATS) pilot. He lived, stationed and traveled in Europe, Asia, Africa, Pacific and Arctic Areas. John retired Air Force Officer - twenty two years service.
Also on hand will be the The Army Air Forces Historical Association, an Oradell-based group of interactive living historians who provide tales of the harrowing experiences of World War II in the air with a nationally acclaimed interactive display. The group's fully operational Norden Bombsite, the only one of its kind on the East Coast, will allow visitors to "put one in the pickle barrel" during a simulated bomb run and experience the thrill, hazards, anxiety and accomplishment of combat flying from long ago.
Come mingle with World War II reenactors whose encampments and displays will history come to life in a way that can't be found in books or documentaries.
We have lined up many top-flight air show performers, most notably headlining air show performer Gary Ward and sharing the spotlight will be the Twin Tigers Demo team, a dual vintage Russian Yak performance flown by Mark Sorenson and Buck Roetman. Also appearing will be returning favorite Jane Wicker and her wing walking act, Kirk Wicker and his comedy Cub performance, The Northeast Raiders, a 5-6 ship formation team, and featuring Hotwire Harry and his great escape, who will try to escape from Sheriff Roscoe of Aileron County Jail.
Each day from 11 until 4 p.m., aircraft will fill the skies, from formation flying to thrilling stunts, at an airfield that has its own share of unique history.
Greenwood Lake Airport is home to one of the last remaining examples of the Lockheed Constellation, a four-engine mainstay of passenger airline service in the 1940s and 50s. Nicknamed "Connie," the aircraft is part of a flying legacy that was the forerunner of today's jetliner passenger service.
During the heyday of neighboring Jungle Habitat, a Warner Brothers theme park of the 1970s, the airfield was known as Nairobi Airport and sported aircraft in zebra stripes. Today it serves as a key general aviation airport for the region.
Daily admission to the airshow is $20 for adults, $15 for Seniors (65+), $10 for Children (5-12). Children under age 5 are admitted free of charge. Gates will open from 10am til 5pm.
Parking is ample and food vendors will be on hand for your dining pleasure. There is also a car show and live music on the field as well. Greenwood Lake Airport is located at 126 Airport Road in West Milford, NJ.
So please join us for a weekend of excitement and history will make for an unforgettable and moving experience.