GREAT BEND AIR FESTIVAL & FLY-IN
Join us in honoring our World War II veterans and the story of Great Bend Army Air Field September 21-23, 2012, at the Great Bend Air Festival & Fly-in. Enjoy three days of history, airplanes, and fun. American Legion Post 180 will honor those who sacrificed all with a POW/MIA Recognition Ceremony and Flag Retirement. World War II reenactors will conduct ground battles. Fireworks will light up the sky and a USO-style dance will give everyone a chance to "cut a rug".
HONORING THE PAST ... EDUCATING THE FUTURE
Stand under the Memorial Plaza arches and listen to the echoes of history. You are standing at the Headquarters building of the Great Bend Army Air Field. It's July of 1943 and crews are arriving, ready to be trained as 11-man combat teams to fly huge B-29 bombers. Construction crews are still working to transform this Kansas wheat field into an airfield and training facility. Barracks, airplane hangars, and miles of concrete runways designed to hold the enormous weight of the B-29s (70,140 lbs. empty/135,000 lbs. loaded) are rapidly taking shape on the prairie.
You can hear B-17 and B-26 aircraft roaring overhead. Crews are training on these war-weary planes until the B-29 Superfortresses start rolling off Boeing assembly lines. When the B-29s arrive, crews take day and night practice missions to the Gulf of Mexico. The men and women around you are in a hurry. Their mission is critical to the war effort. Some of them are part of elite combat crews, but there are also mechanics, armorers, cooks, and clerks. In less than a year, on March 10, 1944, the 58th Bomb Wing will take off from these runways.
Great Bend's B-29 Memorial Plaza is open to visitors every day, all day, to honor the men and women of the Great Bend Army Air Field. Plan a visit to hear the echoes of World War II history and stand with the crews of the Superfortress.
Contact: B-29 Memorial