WWII Heritage Days set for April 27-28 at Falcon Field

The last original World War II Merrill’s Marauder in Georgia, Vincent Melillo (center), who turns 95 in July, is greeted by admiring ladies in period costume for last year’s event. Melillo bring his military memorabilia for the seventh year at WWII Heritage Days at Falcon Field in Peachtree City April 27 and 28. Photo/Special.

American military history will come alive on April 27-28 when the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing will host the 10th Annual World War II Heritage Days at its facilities at Falcon Field in Peachtree City. The two-day event will feature a variety of activities that will bring perspective to a war fought six decades ago.

The weekend again this year will feature vintage aircraft, period vehicles, educational displays, guest speakers and demonstrations and will include mock battles between reenactors portraying Allied and Axis troops. Local actors and singers will impersonate 1940s celebrities and perform 1940s musical hits throughout the weekend.

Events on Saturday, April 27, include the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. with invitations sent to more than 200 World War II veterans who will be recognized.

A sampling of the guest speakers at the ceremony will be author Bob Anzuoni and Honorary Consul of the Netherlands Ewoud N. Swaak. Events on Saturday will also include a Pacific Theater of Operations skirmish, a camp show, a European Theater of Operations battle and the Swashbucklers and Black Sheep program.

Naval aviation historian and author Bruce Gamble at noon will lead a discussion and be on hand for a book signing. Gamble authored “Swashbucklers and Black Sheep: A Pictorial History of Marine Fighting Squadron 214 in World War II.”

Gamble is a retired naval flight officer and former historian with the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. He is the author of four previous books about the Pacific war: “The Black Sheep,” a complete combat history of Marine Fighting Squadron 214; “Black Sheep One,” a definitive biography of Greg “Pappy” Boyington; “Darkest Hour: The True Story of Lark Force at Rabaul,” on the Japanese invasion of New Britain; and “Fortress Rabaul”, about the buildup of the infamous Japanese stronghold.

Saturday will conclude with the “Keep ‘em Flying” 1940s Hangar Dance and Dinner from 6-11 p.m. and will feature the Peachtree Jazz Edition, Bombshells United and 1940s Hollywood stars, swing dance lessons and demonstrations, a full dinner menu and 1940s clothes, vehicles and aircraft. Advanced tickets are $50 per person before April 22 and $60 after that date. Reserved tables and group discounts are available.

Proceeds from the dance benefit historic aircraft preservation and “Education Through Living History,” the group’s WWII history program made available to schools and youth groups free of charge.

Activities Sunday will begin at 9 a.m. with a jeep-top religious service familiar to millions of American servicemen during and since the Second World War, entertainment by Bombshells United, European and Pacific Theater skirmishes, the camp show-Twilight Theater and closing ceremonies.

If this year’s event is like those previously held, the the CAF hangar and grounds will be packed with people that will include a host of local veterans groups from Fayette and Coweta counties.

The annual event will be held April 27-28 at the facilities of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Dixie Wing located at 1200 Echo Court at Falcon Field in Peachtree City. There is a donation of $5 per person (kids under 6 are free) or $20 for families of five or more.

For more information contact Chris Madrid at 770-655-3315 or cjmadrid@yahoo.com or Jim Buckley at 678-457-3507 or dixiewingleader@bellsouth.net.

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