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Wed, Apr 21, 2004

Looking For Sam And Sally Sprocket

World War II Goodyear Workers Invited to Homecoming

A search is on for the surviving men and women who built 4,000 Corsair fighter planes at Goodyear Aircraft during World War II. They will be honored at a special Corsair Homecoming in Akron (OH) on June 18th featuring many of the dozen Corsairs still flying.

Some 35,000 people were employed at Goodyear Aircraft in Akron during the war, thousands coming from elsewhere in Ohio, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Michigan and Indiana to help build the Corsair and other aircraft parts. After the war, many of them returned to their home states.

"We have never really honored their accomplishments and thanked them for their service to the nation," said Joe Chevraux, executive director of the MAPS Air Museum here. "This is perhaps our last opportunity to pay them the tribute they deserve."

The ceremony will precede the MAPS and Goodyear-sponsored Aero Expo 2004: Defenders of Freedom Air Show at Fulton Municipal Airport June 19 and 20. The Corsair Homecoming will feature the FG-1D and F-2G Corsairs built here. Chevraux said MAPS is inviting all former pilots, mechanics, designers and builders of this exemplary aircraft to contact the MAPS Air Museum to be guests for the celebration. These individuals will be recognized at a special ceremony on Friday evening before the air show. The only flying F-2G Corsair owned by Bob Odegaard and the international award-winning FG-1D Corsair of Gary Kohs will be spotlighted and fly during the weekend event.

To be invited to the event, members of the Corsair family are urged to contact the MAPS Air Museum:

Corsair Homecoming
C/O MAPS Air Museum
2260 International Parkway
North Canton, Ohio 44720
Phone:  330-896-6332  Fax:  330-896-7656
E-mail: JChevrauxMAPS@neo.rr.com

They are asked to provide their names, ages, address and telephone numbers and a description of their Corsair activities. MAPS will then contact them with an invitation and event details.

The Goodyear FG-1 Corsair was one of the greatest combat aircraft in World War II. Chance Vought Aircraft began development on a new Navy fighter in 1938, the first prototype flying on May 29, 1940. It was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph, outperforming all other American aircraft at that time.

From the first production F4U-1 of 1942 to the last F4U-6 built ten years later, 12,571 Corsairs came off the production line, over 4000 being the Goodyear Aircraft version known as the FG-1. The FG-1 Corsair has a wingspan of 41', a length of 33' 4", and stands 15' 7" high.

Entering action in 1943 with land-based U.S. Marines squadrons stationed in the Solomon Islands, the Corsair swiftly gained air supremacy in the Pacific theater. Cleared for U.S. Navy carrier operations late in 1944, variants of the plane were also used by the Royal Navy and New Zealand Air Force. After the end of World War II, the FG-1 saw use in air racing (Goodyear raced this airplane from 1944 to 1952).

The air show will also have an appearance of the Canadian SKYHAWKS Parachute Team and many aerobatic acts, military aircraft, commercial aircraft and fly-bys including the B-2 Stealth Bomber, the F-117 Stealth Fighter, C-130 Formation, and a B-52 Stratofortress.

FMI: www.mapsairmuseum.org/aeroexpo2004.htm

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