Warbirds & veterans going to Oshkosh

The Texas Flying Legends Museum will be taking 11 planes to the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2013 event held in Oshkosh, Wis., in late July.

Considered one of the best air shows around the world, it is one of the largest annual gatherings of aviation enthusiasts in the country, with more than 10,000 aircraft in attendance,

A veterans’ recognition is being planned for July 30 and 31 during the Oshkosh event, said Warren Pietsch, a Minot pilot who participates in the annual event and is affiliated with the Texas Flying Legends Museum.

He said plans are for 14 military veterans to be flown in to represent the Texas Flying Legends Museum.

He said one of the people they hope will be able to attend is Margaret Lawler, of Linton, whose husband flew C-47s in World War II. The Lawlers met in England and later married.

“She was the first war bride to arrive in North Dakota at the end of World War II,” Pietsch said.

“The airplane that he (her husband) flew on D-Day, he named ‘Duchess of Dakota.’ We’re going to paint our airplane like that and take it to Oshkosh. We hope to have her and 13 vets in that airplane and fly them in,” Pietsch said.

He said a World War II veteran, Merton Hansen, from Des Moines, Iowa, flew an observation airplane over Iwo Jima.

“That airplane was recovered and restored,” Pietsch said. “We’re going to have the airplane that he flew at Iwo Jima and him at Oshkosh,” he added.

Yukiko Howell, of Tacoma, Wash., whose uncle, Nobuo Konish, flew a Zero with the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, was planning to attend the Oshkosh event where she was invited to speak about her uncle. Howell died unexpectedly Feb. 8. Howell visited the Minot air museum last summer to see the Texas Flying Legends Museum’s Zero, the same model, A6-M2, of plane that her uncle flew. A story about her visit was published in the June 10, 2012, edition of The Minot Daily News. Prior to her death, she wrote a story about her uncle for the air museum that will be displayed there.

The events with the veterans and the warbirds at Oshkosh will be filmed and provide footage for films for the Minot air museum.