Zooming onto the runway at the old Colorado Springs Airport at the end of Fountain Boulevard is a deep navy colored “Texan” T-6 fighter jet, an advance World War II training fighter plane. Parked nearby is a Mig-17, an aggressor plane used by communist forces during the war in Vietnam and Korea. Who knew the deep cherry-red communist plane would one day set side-by-side with the Texan in complete harmony. The majestic machines fly through peaceful skies reminding the crowd at the “In Their Honor Fly-In” of the sacrifice and trials men and women faced and will face in protecting our freedom.
Duke Prichard, air boss for the fly-in, which was held May 18 through 20, has been directing air shows for 26 years. “We are addressing appreciation to every man and woman who served in our military,” said Prichard. Dressed in WW II style clothing, members of Fantasy Flight, some of whom own the WW II planes, said they participated in the Fly-In to keep the spirit of WWII alive.
The planes come from as close as Denver and as far away as Virginia.
Other events commemorating Armed Forces week included the Armed Forces luncheon sponsored by the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. Bill Croom, director of military programs with the Chamber, said recognizing the Springs’ military goes back to 1942 when Camp Carson, now Fort Carson, was put together.
“Armed Forces week all over our country shows appreciation isn’t limited to this week,” said Croom. “But it’s when we show in a major way how we appreciate them.”
The military sector accounts for about 36 percent of Colorado Springs’ economy.
Carri Holley, a non-commissioned officer in charge of retirement separations, said it’s nice to see support coming from the community.
“Most of the town is military,” Holley said. “I think with the military we really support Colorado Springs as Colorado Springs supports us.”