Longview (Longview News-Journal — The historic might of the U.S. military flexed its muscle in the skies over Longview on Saturday in honor of Armed Forces Day.
Two 1946 T-6 airplanes with the Flight of the Phoenix aviation museum in Gilmer led a parade of aircraft above a celebration at Peter’s Chevrolet on U.S. 259 north of the city.
“There’s a lot of recognition on Memorial Day and the like, but Armed Forces Day doesn’t get that much exposure.” said J.J. Vanderpole, a salesman at the location.
About 200 people dined in a modifed service bay, explored vintage military vehicles and watched from beneath fluttering flags as the planes flew low overhead.
Steve Dean led the parade accompanied by wingman Carl Best. The flyover also featured a T-6 from Mount Pleasant, a Bamboo Bomber and an RV, an expression ground coordinator Aneita Henry said means it’s a homemade aircraft.
“Our mission is to perserve aviation history — it’s a dying art,” Henry said from her post monitoring the incoming flight.
Vietnam veteran Johnny Hampton said the sight never grows old.
“This here means something to vets, because it’s overdue. We’re just in the past few years really welcoming home our Vietnam vets,” said the Marine, who retired from Gregg Country Sheriff’s Office after 26 years.
Across town on U.S. 80 near Harvest Tabernacle, the HT Power Show offered about 70 hot rods and many more hot dogs during an Armed Services Day show honoring veterans, law enforcement and firemen.