Airbase Arizona - Commemorative Air Force

Why Did You Get Involved with the Arizona Commemorative Air Force?

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum (AZCAF) is run 99% on volunteers/members. Yes, you heard that right- 99%! We might be biased – but we have some of the best out there! We often ask what makes them give us their valuable time, what’s the “why” behind you being here and not somewhere else, and we thought we should turn that into a blog series. Here’s the first one in the series from one of our newest members, Gary Oglesby.

“After my mom remarried and moved to Florida, her new husband, Jim was a private pilot and a member of the Air Force in the 50’s. We flew all over the country in his Cessna 310 and later an Aero Commander 500. He was the squadron commander of the local Civil Air Patrol and member of the Confederate Air Force (now Commemorative Air Force) in its early days.

Besides my stepfather, my connections to military aviation are my father-in-law who was a crew member on a Navy Martin P4M-Q1 Mercator. Their missions were spy missions as close as possible to Korea and China during the cold war. Unfortunately, none of the Mercator survive. Several uncles were in WWII. Two of which were on the receiving end of aerial torpedoes dropped by the Empire of Japan. Luckily both survived even though their ships were sunk. One of those also witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor when his ship was on patrol just outside the harbor.

The aviation bug followed me into college where I got a single and multi-engine private license. I wish I could remember what the exact cause was, but after 170+ hours, I lost all interest in flying. I suspect it was moving on to instrument training and it took all the fun out of flying.

Quickly moving on to Arizona, I’ve lived under the approach path of 22R for over 20 years and watched the plane fly over, some a little lower than others, but never visited the museum. Christmas two years ago, my mom gave me some belongings of my late stepfather who had passed away in the 80’s. One of those items was his pilot’s wings from the Commemorative Air Force. Along the same time, I had started flying drones and got my commercial remote pilots license and met Brice LeCarre, also an AZCAF member. We flew a couple of jobs together and he mentioned he got authorization to shoot some footage at the museum and wanted to know if I wanted to assist. Seeing the static collection rekindled the flame again and the rest is history. Brice and I both became members in December 2017.”

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