The CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron will assemble a collection of warbirds and vintage aircraft at Texas Jet (200 Texas Way, Fort Worth) which will be on display from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. There will be a $5 fee to enter the display area. Those aircraft that will be open for tours will require an additional donation.
“The ride was really great, from the minute we landed people were asking me was it worth it? heck YES! I can't say enough good things about the CAF crew their, everyone was very nice to you,” said a recent “FIFI” rider. Reservations for these ride experiences can be made by visiting the www.rideB29.com. Prices for flight experiences range from $595 to $1495 dependent upon seat location.
“Commemorative Air Force is unique, we aren’t like other museums,” said CAF President/CEO Stephan Brown. “We start our engines, we fly our airplanes and we get loud, taking history to the public, not waiting for them to come to us. “FIFI” flying during the 4th of July weekend is an opportunity for the CAF to continue doing what we do best, educating and reminding Americans of the cost of our freedom.”
The CAF B-29/B-24 Squadron will be hosting the following veterans:
Bob Hilton of Highland Village, TXAbout the CAF’s B-29 Superfortress:
Mr. Hilton was assigned to B-29s very early in their development. Hilton was assigned to the 40th Bomb Group in Pratt, Kansas in 1943, and would serve with the unit until the end of World War II. The 40th would be the first Bomb Group to be assigned overseas in B-29s. Hilton served through the deployment of the B-29 from Pratt to India to China to Tinian. Hilton served as a command pilot in some of the very first missions flown by the B-29 Superfortress. Today Mr. Hilton is an active member of the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29/B-24 Squadron.
Edgar Vincent of Northern California
Mr. Vincent is coming to Dallas-Fort Worth for the single task of once again flying aboard the B-29. Vincent flew aboard the B-29 Flak Alley Sally which was based on the island of Tinian. Vincent flew as Aircraft Commander for 32 missions over Tokyo including an aerial mining mission which lasted nearly twenty hours. For this mission Vincent (and his crew) was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross. On another mission Vincent was forced to land his aircraft on Iwo Jima, which was not yet completely in American hands, this was one of the first American aircraft to land on Iwo Jima.
Chester Thomas of Arlington, TX
Mr. Thomas was a bombardier aboard a B-29 mission over the Nippon Oil Refinery on August 15, 1945, the same day that a truce was reached between the United States and the Empire of Japan. This mission is recognized as the last bombing of World War II. Today over 60 years later, Thomas will return to his seat during the waning days of World War II. Thomas was recently assigned to the 331st Bomb Group when the war reached its’ end in August of 1945. The story of the final mission is chronicled in Jim Smith and Malcolm McConnell’s The Last Mission: The Secret History of World war II’s Final Battle.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is America’s first very heavy bomber entering World War II in 1944 and is best known for missions in August 1945 that led to the end of World War II. The B-29 would continue on to serve the U.S. Air Force in the Korean Conflict and as a vital part of Strategic Air Command until replaced by jet bombers. The B-29 was retired from service in the 1960s, many were destroyed. The CAF begin searching for a B-29 in the 1960s and finally in 1971, located one at the China Lake Navy Proving yard. After many months of negotiations the CAF was given permission to recover the airframe and fly it to their base in Harlingen, Texas. There it underwent extensive restoration emerging late in 1974, and christened FIFI and joined the other World War II fighters and bombers to preserve the memories and teach lessons of mankind's greatest war. For the past 35 years, “FIFI” has toured the nation educating the American public about the sacrifices made by the young men and women who built, serviced, and flew these aircraft during WWII and the Korean Conflict.
About the Commemorative Air Force
Collecting, restoring and flying vintage historical aircraft for more than half a century, the CAF ranks as one of the largest private air forces in the world. The CAF is dedicated to Honoring
American Military Aviation through flight, exhibition and remembrance. A non-profit educational association, the CAF has approximately 8,000 members and a fleet of 156 airplanes distributed throughout the country to 74 units located in 27 states for care and operation. For more information, visit www.commemorativeairforce.org.