The Dixie Wing to perform re-creation of the Battle of Midway

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
The upcoming Robins Air Show, May 2-3, will feature a new event that its organizers say is a one-of-a-kind recreation of World War II aviation history.

The Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, a group dedicated to preserving WWII aircraft in flying condition, will perform an aerial recreation of the crucial Battle of Midway. That will be preceded by a quick aerial simulation of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle's daring raid on Tokyo in retaliation.

On the ground the show will include a narration with music to tell the history being depicted and pyrotechnics will simulate the bombing of Japanese aircraft carriers. It was designed by Alan Armstrong, an Atlanta attorney and member of the Dixie Wing, which is based in Peachtree City.

He said the Robins show will mark the first time that the group will perform the recreation. Mr. Armstrong said he came up with the idea after deciding that it wasn't enough for attendees to see a plane flying.

"We are going to recreate the Battle of Midway," he said. "It's more than just an airplane flying in a circle. It's like putting on a theater performance with airplanes."

Mr. Armstrong said he was aware of only one other show that does an aerial historical recreation, and it isn't nearly on the same scale.

Midway was a crucial battle in the Pacific, he said, because the U.S. was outnumbered and had it lost, the Japanese could have sailed unimpeded to the West Coast. The battle tipped the balance of power back to the U.S.

Although the schedule for the air show may fluctuate, the Battle of Midway show is currently set for shortly after noon on both days of the show. The Midway event will last for 22 minutes.

Mr. Armstrong said he expects the audience will get a deeper meaning from the show than from simply watching the planes fly.

"They will develop an appreciation for what it means to be an American citizen," he said.

The planes that the Dixie Wing group will bring include some of the most venerated aircraft of World War II. The group's planes include an SBD Dauntless, a replica of a Japanese Zero fighter, a Japanese Kate bomber flown by Mr. Armstrong, and two B-25 Mitchells. Two SNJ's will play the role of the Wildcat fighters that participated in Midway.

The B-25 is the famously versatile aircraft that, completely against its design, took off from an aircraft carrier for the raid on Tokyo. It was the first American attack on Japan following Pearl Harbor. The Dauntless was the American dive bomber that took out three Japanese aircraft carriers in the Battle of Midway.