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60 Years of Aviation From the Eyes of the Beholder
Story by LCpl Hannah Powell on 03/13/2019
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. (March 9, 2019) — What better place to enjoy 70 degree weather in early March, free entertainment and aircraft demonstrations than the annual Yuma Airshow? Yuma is home to Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Yuma, the busiest air station in the Marine Corps, which supports 80 percent of the USMC’s air-to-ground aviation training.
Each year MCAS Yuma hosts one of the finest military airshows of the season.
During this year’s airshow, MCAS Yuma celebrated 60 years of Marine Aviation. Although the air station was built in 1928, it wasn’t official turned over to the Marine Corps until 1959. Helping them celebrate was Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 214 with its AV-8B Harrier II, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 with its F-35B Lightning II, the United States Air Force (USAF) A-10 Thunderbolt demonstration team and many other performers.
Among the long list of airshow performers was the The Tora Tora Tora Commemorative Airforce (CAF), which paid homage to the beginning of the American involvement in World War II with a recreation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Tora Tora Tora began in 1972, when six replica Japanese aircraft used in a movie of the same name were donated to the CAF.
“We’re not promoting nationalism or glorifying war, the intent is to help generations born after the war to understand that war doesn’t discriminate with the pain it causes, and that courageous individuals on both sides lose their lives,” said Mike Burke, the Tora Tora Tora second generation lead.
Tora Tora Tora is intended as a memorial to all soldiers on both sides who gave their lives for their countries.
“I remember everything about the war and seeing Tora Tora Tora was really emotional,” said Barbra Colbert, a spectator at the 2019 Yuma Airshow.
In addition, United States Air Force (USAF) A-10 Thunderbolt II demonstration team, for the first time in Yuma Airshow history, also helped the air station celebrate 60 years of Marine Aviation. The A-10, otherwise known as the “Warthog”, was designed for close air support of friendly ground troops, attacking armored vehicles and tanks, and providing quick action against enemy ground forces.
“The most unique thing about being an A-10 pilot is meeting people that have actually been on the ground and received support from the A-10” said USAF Major Ryan Rutter, the A-10 Safety Officer.
As a whole, the 2019 Yuma airshow was a great showcase of military airpower, a spectacular tribute to the past, and an opportunity for people to see the aircraft that paved the way for the newer platforms. =