Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day 2021

Memorial Day is a Federal Holiday observed on the last Monday in May.  Today we honor and mourn the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties.  For the Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing this is a special day as it aligns with our mission: To Educate, Inspire,  and Honor Through Flight and Living History Experiences.

We are blessed with outstanding volunteers who help run the museum, keep the aircraft in tip-top condition, and execute on our mission.  Today, we are happy to post a special edition of our members newsletter named Flight Line, thanks to Dave Flood and Casey de Bree.


Flight Line           

Special Edition

Memorial Day,

May 31, 2021


Lest We Forget

Omaha Beach, Normandy, France

June 6, 1944



Lest We Forget

United States Cemetery, Lorraine, France


“In Flanders Fields”

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow,

Between the crosses, row on row

That mark our place.


And in the sky,

The larks, still bravely singing, fly,

Scarce heard among the guns below.


We are the dead,

Short days ago we lived,

Felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved,

And now…we lie in Flanders Fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe!

To you, with failing hands,

We throw the torch.

Be yours to hold it high!


If you break faith with us who die,

We shall not sleep,

Though poppies grow,

In Flanders Fields.

~John McCrae


Lest We Forget

Iwo Jima

February 23, 1945

Lest We Forget

Burial at sea, USS Liscome Bay, 1943

Lest We Forget

Raid on Ploesti, Romania Oil Refineries, August 1, 1943

Lest We Forget

MASH Unit, Korean War – 1st Marine Division

Lest We Forget

HU-1D Helicopter, Strike Force – Vietnam

Lest We Forget

American Troops Clearing Area

Warnak Province, Afghanistan


“For The Fallen”


“They went with songs to the battle,

They were young.

Straight of limb, true of eye, steady

and aglow. 

They were staunch to the end,

Against odds uncounted;

They fell with their faces to the foe. 

They shall grow not old, as we

That are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor

the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun,

And in the morning

We will remember them.”


~Laurence Binyon




Arlington National Cemetery, with the

Capitol in the distance.


Bob Burtness playing “Taps” for Bugles Across America at a veteran’s memorial service.


This Memorial Day – Fly Your Flag Proudly

And Remember…

2021-07-09T19:41:09-07:00May 31st, 2021|News|

New Membership Experience

Attention All Current CAFSOCAL wing members…

We have moved our membership tracking and payments online.  Now you can manage your membership from you smart phone, laptop, or desktop.  

To get started, just renew your 2021 membership by visiting the new page: Renew Your Membership  This is located under the JOIN menu tab, on the drop down at the bottom.

Once you are in the system, you will be able to access the Members Only content and update your information quick and easy.

Also this year, we have added the renewal option of auto-renew, so come next year you will be automatically charged and renewed.  You will need to choose this renewal option and you can cancel at any time.

Thank You for supporting the Commemorative Air Force Southern California Air Wing – your donation of time and money is very appreciated and we could not support our mission without you.

2021-05-31T09:01:14-07:00January 16th, 2021|News|

Veteran’s Day 2020

Happy Veteran’s Day – we honor all Veterans today, living and passed on.   Unfortunately with the current crisis, the museum is closed until further notice, so please celebrate safely at home.  

To help keep you occupied, here is some history about Veteran’s Day (courtesy of  

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Unlike Memorial Day, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans—living or dead—but especially gives thanks to living veterans who served their country honorably during war or peacetime. 

 For more great information, please visit:

2020-11-10T20:14:19-07:00November 10th, 2020|News|

Happy Fourth of July 2020

The Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force would like to wish you a safe and happy 4th of July, 2020!  We will be open when it is safe to do so for our members and our volunteers, but until then please stay safe and healthy, and we hope you enjoy these videos from times past.  

The first is an old Ford Trucks commercial where the China Doll steals the show

Next is a great airshow recap video from 2017 El Centro

2020-09-10T10:15:02-07:00July 4th, 2020|News|

America’s Aviators and Their Flyovers of Honor

America’s Aviators and Their Flyovers of Honor

Anne Constantin Birge


What are flyovers! Two words answer that question – they’re awesome! Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, in central Oklahoma, my family and I never got to experience flyovers, like the ones we appreciate today. Nooooo! Ours were much better! Back then, when those daredevil jet aviators, headed south out of Tinker Air Force Base, near OKC about 16 miles north of us, they’d head right for our house. We never saw ‘em coming. We only saw them leave – after they blasted us with their calling cards – those wonderful sonic booms (which occur when aircraft exceed 768 mph or the speed of sound.). Their speed of sound flyovers were window-rattling, horse-bucking, sheep-scaring, days-long cessation of egg-laying and kid-squealing exhibitions of speed and military might. Although sonic booms probably weren’t allowed back then either, those rowdy aviators just had to do it, probably still do and doubtless still smirk during their official dressing down.

I always thought those eardrum-rupturing flyovers, were the first flyovers. As it turns out, the first recorded flyover was performed by sixty US Army Air Service biplanes on Thursday, September 5, 1918. Just as America is at war today with a viral pandemic, on that day she’d already spent about 18-months engaged in WWI. After Game 1 of the World Series, the attendees who came to see the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs play, probably never cared who won that game. After witnessing the Army biplanes flyover and then being a part of the first time our National Anthem was played at a World Series, perhaps it didn’t even matter who won Game 1.

These days, America’s military may not be causing sonic booms. But, they’re sure making lots of beautiful noise. As part of Operation America Strong, our Army, Air Force, Navy, National Guard and Coast Guard are flying over our cities to honor our first responders, medical personnel and essential business employees, who put their lives on the line every day during the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic. These flyovers, at relatively sedate speeds, have been and will be done in at least 35 US states and the District of Columbia, from New York and Maryland to Oregon and Arizona and from Hawaii and Alaska to Florida and the Carolinas.

The Vancouver, WA Pearson Air Museum, has
a static display of a rare 1918 DeHavilland DH-4b
Liberty aircraft (aka: The Flaming Coffin)
just like Lt. Oakley Kelly’s DH-4 (pictured).


Some of the aircraft involved in America’s recent and upcoming flyovers, include the B-1 Lancer, B-2 Spirit, B-52 Stratofortress, A-10 Thunderbolt, C-17 Globemaster, C-130 Hercules, LC-130 Hercules (lands on ice), F-15 Eagle, F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-22 Raptor, F-35 Lightning, KC-46 Pegasus, KC-135 Stratotanker, T-1 Jayhawk, T-6 Texan and Doc, one of only two airworthy WWII B-29 Superfortress bombers left in the world. In northern California, Beale Air Force Base’s 9th Reconnaissance Wing formations, led by Capt. Parker “Betty” Dodds and 1st Lt. Kyle Carver, conducted two Salutes to Northern California flyovers from Redding to Placerville and from Nevada City to Vacaville, from the cockpits of their four sleek, gleaming black Northrop T-38 Talons. (maximum speed 858 mph!)


Meanwhile, turnabout is fair play. Delighted citizens all across our country, flocked to their driveways, residential streets and side roads along flight paths, to honor America’s aeronauts as they soared overhead, on their journey to the next honorees. These beautiful formations of polished paint and roaring jet engines, not only honor our Veterans and frontline workers, they give us gravity-bound earthlings a chance to witness what they do and thank them for their aerial prowess.


Since 1957, the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) – Ghost Squadron, which was founded in Texas, has purchased, restored and maintained more than 170 vintage aircraft and WWII Warbirds. And, Texans have big, wonderful and caring attitudes. Multiple Texas CAF members went REALLY BIG in honoring front line personnel, military Veterans and residents of their cities. Some of the 32 Texas Wings and Squadrons included the Houston Wing, P-63 Sponsor Group, Tora Sponsor Group, Gulf Coast Wing, Centex (Central Texas) Wing, Devil Dog Squadron, High Sky Wing and the Lone Star Flight Museum. The Tex Hill Wing flew the Archbishop of San Antonio, in what was called a Spirit Flight, over San Antonio as he blessed her populace.

USAF – Beale AFB, CA T-38 Talons – 28 Feb 2013 (photo by S/Sgt. Robert M. Trujillo – Released)


But, Texas wasn’t the only happenin’ place for the CAF. In New Orleans, the Big Easy Wing, flew the Rabbi from the Gates of Prayer Synagogue and the Archbishop of New Orleans over the city, so they could bless the inhabitants. The Waukesha Wisconsin Wing and Airbase Arizona in Mesa, flew over their cities to salute war Veterans and to honor the 75th anniversary of VE Day (May 5, 1945 – Victory in Europe Day).


Don’t worry, like researchers did when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in 1947. If you’re ever lucky enough to witness to a sonic boom, the pilots will emerge unscathed. Next time you hear the scream of a jet, long after it’s disappeared, please remember – that sound is the sound of freedom. Lastly, I know firsthand, that although all us kids on the ground loved to hear those Tinker Air Force Base jet pilots break the sound barrier, Mother didn’t.


‘til next time, signing off,


Rattlesnake Annie

Colonel – CAF SoCal Wing


BTW   Don’t fret about the cost of these flyovers. They’re part of our military aviators’ essential training and the costs are covered in their annual budgets.

2020-06-04T19:44:48-07:00June 4th, 2020|News|

Minsi III – David McCampbell – Ace of Aces video

 Courtesy of the US Naval Institute

“Ace of Aces” is the dramatic David McCampbell story, complemented by stunning vintage World War II film footage and punctuated with Captain McCampbell’s own words, recorded for the U.S. Naval Institute’s Oral History program. In this professionally produced video, McCampbell’s candor makes the story of the U.S. Navy’s all-time top fighter ace come alive, from his boyhood and early naval career to his 34 career kills and earning the Medal of Honor for his valor at the Battle of Leyte Gulf. So climb into the cockpit with this extraordinary naval aviator for a memorable flight back in time.


2020-06-02T20:56:44-07:00June 2nd, 2020|News|

Memorial Day 2020

For those who are curious, Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military.

At the Commemorative Air Force, we celebrate this day, and every day, by working toward fulfilling our mission: To educate, inspire and honor through flight and exposition.

Please enjoy this sample of videos from times past and remember those who died while serving in the US military.



2020-07-04T15:04:06-07:00May 25th, 2020|News|

Lt. Col. (US Army Reserve, Retired) Sam A. Sachs

Every once in a while we come find a great story about a great person – here is one of those.  Please send a birthday card for his 105th birthday!


Dear Everyone,

On 26 March 1915, Sam A. Sachs, the oldest of three children, was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He has had quite a storied life and now lives in Lakewood, CA. His plans for his 105th birthday party were shattered with the 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic. So, instead of birthday bash, Sam is asking for birthday cards! He especially was delighted and surprised recently when the Sultans’ Car Club, Long Beach, CA, had a parade of their vintage vehicles to honor him and his birthday.

So, you know a bit about WWII Lt. Col. (US Army Reserve, Retired) Sam A. Sachs, the following information about him is from various Internet articles:

In 1931, and while still in high school, Sam joined ROTC. In Oct 1940, at age 25, he registered for the Draft.  Later, he was called to fight in WWII. As a 1st Lt., Sam first went to Fort Benning, Georgia. Later, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne, 325th Glider Infantry to pilot gliders, affectionately known as Flying Coffins. On 6 June 1944, the 30-year old officer flew an unarmed glider carrying eight troops, machine guns and ammo, through anti-aircraft artillery fire, for their D-Day landing at Normandy, France. Upon landing the glider on a farm about two to three miles from Utah Beach (the farthest west of the five landings), Sam found only one bullet hole in the glider’s fuselage. Until the war’s end in 1945, Sam served as Company Commander in Casablanca, Morocco, Africa, Naples, Italy (see 1943 Naples picture) and other locations. He was also part of a group which helped liberate prisoners from a German concentration camp.

In 1946, Sam met Ida, bride of 58-years (she passed in 2005). Then, Sam attended the University of Southern California, where he obtained his teaching credential. He taught in several southern California schools, with his first teaching assignment at Wilmington High School. He then taught at Compton Junior High School, Roosevelt Adult School (east LA) and from 1955 to 1982, he taught at Huntington Park High School. 

After Sam served with the US Army Reserves for 32-years, he retired as a Lt. Col. In 2017, Sam was honored by the 63rd California Assembly District, as the Lakewood, CA Veteran of the Year. On 6 June 2019, 75-years after helping liberate France from Nazi Germany’s grip, Christophe Lemoine, Consul General of France – Los Angeles, presented Lt. Col. Sachs with the French Legion of Honor. He also said, that by decree of French President Emmanuel Macron, Sam was appointed a Chevalier (Knight).

Should you want to send a birthday card to our WWII Hero and Veteran, his address is:

Lt. Col. (US Army Reserve, Retired) Sam A. Sachs

c/o Mom and Dad’s Manor House

4340 Conquista Avenue

Lakewood, CA 90713

Let’s shower Sam Sachs, a WWII Veteran who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today, with a lot of birthday cards, so he has an absolutely spectacular birthday! Also, we notified the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1874 in Grand Forks, ND, where Sam was born, about his upcoming birthday. They intend to let all the North Dakota VFWs know, so they can honor Sam, too! Maybe you can even pass this letter on to others who can send the message out to more people?!    


Anne Constantin Birge and Ray Birge
Lincoln, CA


       The Wounded Warrior Project – The greatest casualty is being forgotten.


2020-05-09T14:23:17-07:00May 9th, 2020|News|

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