The world will always remember the sacrifice of the brave soldiers who answered the call to defend their country during World War II. On July 22nd, the World War II Airborne Demonstration team were able to honor this act of bravery and relive history as they participated in Open Hangar Day.
Open Hangar Day is an annual event put on by The World War II Airborne Demonstration Team Foundation located in Frederick, Oklahoma. During World War II, Frederick played a significant role in history and is home to The Frederick Army Air Field. Not only is the army air field the headquarters for the foundation, but the airport has been preserved from the time of the war.
The foundation is composed of members who live in Europe and The United States who frequently visit Frederick to complete parachute jumps and training. The members of the foundation make it their sole purpose to honor veterans from WWII and to preserve artifacts and knowledge from the war.
Two times a year the organization hosts a jump school as well as “Open Hangar Day”. Jump School consists of week long classes training students in jumping, learning and performing. Students are able to learn how to jump out of a C-47 just like veterans did during the early 1940’s. It’s noted that students from all over the world – as far as the Netherlands – come to partake in this exciting opportunity.
It was no different this year as 16 students strapped on their parachute and were ready to show off their skills to the public and WWII airborne veterans who attended the event. Open Hangar Day signifies the end of the week-long training and is the final test for students. Students complete what is called their jump quota and they perform a public jump on a Saturday morning. The event includes a wing-pinning ceremony, a commemorative ceremony for a WWII hero, and locals are able to get up close with a WWII replica plane. The event is free and many who love adventure and history come out to the event each year.
It’s not uncommon during jump school for the community to engage with WWII soldiers in downtown Frederick. The city considers Open Hangar Day an exciting experience and ADT students, instructors and commanders proudly wear traditional WWII paraphernalia.
Jelks Cabaniss is a student from this year’s jump school and he spoke with news outlet KSWO regarding his experience. “It’s easy to think of this as just a historical thing, but we have veterans here,” Cabaniss said. “Veterans who jumped out of this plane.” Cabaniss along with other students were honored to perform jumps just like the veterans did in WWII. They were even more humbled that some veterans came to watch them jump.
Richard Adams was one of the airborne veterans who attended the event. At 95 years old he was surprised to see the airborne demonstration team for the first time.
The Demonstration Team’s Public Affair Officer, Laura Goodwin said, “They’re known as the greatest generation and we’re losing them every day. The fact that we even have five or six here today is no small miracle.” It was a great honor for students to fulfill their lifelong dream and be apart of an organization whose mission is to Remember, Honor and Serve.