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Big-T & the Bada-Bings


WWII Comes to Life at Reading Airfield
By Leslie Rosenberg

For three days this Spring, Reading, Pennsylvania, will travel back in time, to an era when Glenn Miller ruled the airwaves, and stars like Spencer Tracey and Katherine Hepburn graced the silver screen.

The annual transformation is a result of the Mid Atlantic Air Museum World War II Weekend Airshow and Living History Airfield, scheduled this year for June 7-9. The mammoth gathering attracts thousands of visitors from around the globe and features living history reenactors; vintage WWII aircraft, vehicles and artifacts; skirmishes and battles at the recreated airfield; a big band gala dance; victory gardens at the Home Front; a huge militaria collectibles flea market; and most important, the story of the world's greatest conflict, told by those who were there. Among the guests this year will be Colonel Robert Morgan, Tex Hill of the American Volunteer Group "Flying Tigers", four crew members of the 91st BG B-17 "Pist'l Packin' Mama", Major "Dutch" Van Kirk (navigator of the B-29 "Enola Gay"), Morris Jeppson (USN) who armed the bomb, Captain Sherman Best (pilot of 17 missions of the B-26 Flak-Bait, the bomber with the highest number of missions during the war now on display at the Smithsonian), Forrest Guth of the 101st AB "Band of Brothers", Sgt. Bill Fili (B-24 gunner/navigator and Ploiesti veteran), Lt. Carl Constein ("Hump" pilot), and WASP members Ethel Finley, Scotty Gough, and Florence Shutsy-Reynolds, plus noted aviation artists Gil Cohn, Raymond Moats, and David Sample. Regrettably, General Joe Foss will not be appearing as originally scheduled.

Visitors to the WWII Reenactment weekend can also take a ride on the "Yankee Lady," a classic B-17 still in sound condition. At $400 a trip, the cost is a bit steep, but where else can you personally fly through history? Several other historical aircraft will be at this year's event as well, including for the first time the Fighter Factory's "Hawker Hurricane." To find out more about this year's event, including ticket prices, nearby accommodations, directions, and schedule information, visit the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum online at

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