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Wed, Aug 01, 2012

The Jewels Of Oshkosh Part Deux

What To Do When The Planes Aren't Flying

By Tom Woodward

This year I have seen more children and infants at AirVenture than in many years. That' s a good sign for the future of aviation, but we all know that the attention span of the little ones is limited. Down near the Theater in the Woods is a Kiddie Center. Volunteers staff the center and provide child care in a shaded tent, with a playground out back which allows parents some relief while their children have a good time playing on climbing forts and driving push carts.

For another diversion take the little ones and your art loving spouse down to the warbird area. Not only can they marvel at magnificent machines, which helped to preserve our Liberty and Freedom but they can enjoy the varied and authentic Nose Art which adorns many of the fighter and some of the heavy bombers. If that doesn't squelch their ADD then point out the guns and cannons on the wings while telling them stories about their use, a favorite of little boys.

When your children start complaining about the amenities at the Hilton, head on down to the WW II reenactment camp adjacent to the Warbird area. The camp is historically accurate, representing the Forward Air Services,12th Army Air Corp Mobile Air Base located in Italy circa 1943 and the members are dedicated to preserving history through public education, preserving historical artifacts and above all honoring our members of the service. These are the men who supported the pilots and equipment which won the war and they want you to know that the flyboys didn't do it all by themselves.

Captain Gary Byrd told us that all the equipment and artifacts were obtained from Army surplus, online and even on eBay, where they found a 30mm gun. These re-enactors live in canvas tents, wear the uniforms, play the parts of the soldiers they represent and live under whatever conditions are presented to them during their week here at Oshkosh. Captain Byrd told me that they would love any donation from that period and whatever you donate could be claim as a tax deduction. Maybe your kids won' t complain so much after seeing how the members live.



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