History slices through skies over Monroe

Apr. 27, 2013 @ 03:28 PM

Planes swooped and soared through the skies of Monroe this weekend as Warriors and Warbirds, Inc. presented a World War II-themed air show. 

The marquis event was a traveling exhibit about the Tuskegee Airmen, called “Rise Above,” and an authentic P-51 Mustang, one of a handful left in working order. 

The Tuskegee Airmen, as they were popularly known, were the first African American pilots in the military. They were the 332nd Fighter Group and mostly served as escorts while stationed in Italy. 

Also on display were The Tinker Belle, a Beechcraft C-45 and a Beech AT-11. 

There were also reenactors, authentic camp sites, veterans and activities for the family. 

Jack Campbell, of Stallings, was there with the Indian Trail chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He said they try to make it to all of these events. 

“I love it, it’s beautiful,” he said about the planes and other activities. “Everybody seems to enjoy it.” 

Campbell said that with so few veterans, it is always nice to get together and bond. 

The traveling Red Tails exhibit features a film inside of a trailer for viewers. Many of the participants were impressed by the film. They gave positive reviews and raved as they left the trailer. 

Tim Karel, from Greenwood, S.C., enjoyed the film. He said it was very educational and put into perspective what these pilots went through. 

He heard about the show from a pilot in South Carolina and came because he is a World War II enthusiast, he said. He brought his son and a group of boy scouts. He noted that there were more young people watching the film than adults. 

While Bob Jappert, from Wisconsin, said he was a little disappointed with how few aircraft they were, he said he was “very impressed” by the exhibit. He thought the aircraft that were on display were “great.” 

Del Grim, from Rock Hill, S.C., echoed his friend’s sentiment about the exhibit. He said it was the thing he enjoyed the most about the event. 

Grim said the aircraft were all restored very well and it was well worth the trip from Rock Hill. 

Gail Gibson’s love of planes brought her from Charlotte to attend. 

“Watching those two planes take off was pretty neat,” Gibson said. She added that she likes watching air shows. 

Warriors and Warbirds, Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving aircraft. The organization was started in 2005 by local pilots.