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Sat, Feb 24, 2007

Gathering Of Mustangs Attracts USAF Heritage Week

Both Events To Be Held This September In Columbus, OH

Aero-News has learned the US Air Force selected Columbus, OH as the site of this year's Air Force Heritage Week, in conjunction with the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends at Rickenbacker International Airport in September.

Lt. Gen. Terry L. Gabreski, vice commander of Air Force Material Command at Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base made the announcement Friday during a press conference at Rickenbacker.

In 2007, the Air Force is commemorating its 60th anniversary and the 10th anniversary of the Heritage Flight Program which involves today's state-of-the-art fighters flying in close formation with World War II and Korean War vintage fighters such as the P-51 Mustang and the F-86 Sabre.

Air Force Heritage Week will include community visits and talks by senior Air Force officials, flight demonstration team performances and ground displays providing an up close and personal look at the Air Force men and women serving on the front lines, all of which will culminate at the Gathering of Mustangs & Legends.

The Gathering of Mustangs & Legends, hosted at Rickenbacker International Airport September 27-30, 2007 will provide the opportunity to share the history of the P-51 Mustang aircraft and honor the heroes of World War II. The Mustang played a major role in the Allied campaign to achieve air supremacy in Europe during World War II leading to a successful ground-forces invasion and the defeat of Germany.

The Gathering will bring together an estimated 100 beautifully restored P-51 aircraft with 51 of the heroes, legends and aces forever connected to these aircraft. At the event the skies will be filled with the P-51 aircraft in addition to other World War II fighters and bombers, civilian airshow performers and the Air Force Thunderbirds.

Lt. General Terry L. Gabreski has a unique perspective on Air Force Heritage Week. General Garbreski's father-in-law was the great WWII and Korean War ace, Colonel Francis "Gabby" Gabreski. Flying a P-47 Thunderbolt "Gabby" Gabreski, flew 266 combat missions in two wars destroying 37.5 enemy aircraft in World War II and 6.5 MIG-15s in Korea while flying a F-86 Sabre. The Air Force Heritage Week will bring to the fore front the sacrifices of the both the famous, such as Gabby Gabreski as well as the nameless who fought for our freedom in the skies over Europe and Korea.

Heritage Week is about honoring the past that laid the building blocks to the Air Force's 60 year legacy of service, commitment to values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all that they have done. The Gathering of Mustangs in conjunction with Air Force Heritage Week is the perfect tribute to the millions of Americans who have served in the World's Finest Air Force, the over 520,000 Airmen who serve in our Air Force today, and the millions yet to serve who will shape our future and shape our success.

FMI: www.rickenbacker.org, www.gml2007.com

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