Wings & Wheels 2019 features Tuskegee Airmen member

GEORGETOWN — Planning for Wings & Wheels 2019 is under way and this year’s early fall festival welcomes an honored military veteran who flew as a member of the prestigious Tuskegee Airmen.

Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Thompson announced last week that Col. Charles McGee, (U.S. Air Force/Ret.) will be part of the Wings & Wheels weekend as a special honored guest.

Wings & Wheels, the chamber’s signature event, will take place Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5 at the Delaware Coastal Airport.

Col. McGee, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen (332nd Fighter Group), was a fighter pilot during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, and flew more combat missions than any Air Force fighter pilot.

Born Dec. 7, 1919, Col. McGee flew a total of 409 combat missions, spanning World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

He is a recipient of the Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross and Legion of Merit, flew a P51 Mustang escorting bombers over Germany, Austria and the Balkans and later became an instructor for the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, with more than 6,300 flying hours.

The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of African-American military pilots, both fighter and bomber, who fought in World War II. They formed the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group of the United States Army Air Forces.

Attending Wings & Wheels will put Col. McGee back with the two aircraft he is most familiar with: Panchito (a B-25 Mitchell Bomber (owned by Larry Kelley, pilot, aviation historian and founder of the Delaware Aviation Museum), and Rosalie (a P-51 Mustang owned by Ezra Rickards).

In addition, Col. McGee will be the keynote speaker at the Pathways to Aviation Program on Friday morning, a program held for high school students. He will also the guest at the Friday night dinner show, and on the runway at the Panchito booth on Saturday.

Wings & Wheels takes flight Friday morning, Oct. 4 with Pathways to Aviation Day where 125 high school students will spend the day at the airport learning from aviation experts.

The evening on Friday, Oct. 4, there will a celebration of “peace, love, and happiness” at the annual fundraising dinner with Kathie Martin’s tribute to the Woodstock Generation.

Benefitting the Delaware Aviation Museum Foundation and the Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event will be held in a large hangar on the grounds of the airport. Ticket price is $50 per person and includes dinner from Lighthouse Catering.

Saturday’s free event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The opening ceremony will include the National Anthem, and presentation of colors by the Sussex Central ROTC Color Guard.

Events at the airport throughout the day include a vintage aircraft fly-in, car show, featured speakers, live entertainment, craft and food vendors and military living history. The event will also feature the return of the fan-favorite Flour Bombing Competition, set for 2 p.m., as well as the official United States Naval Academy Parachute Team.

The Georgetown Chamber is welcoming the Historical Vintage Car Club of Delaware as a partner on the 2019 car show.

“With awards in numerous categories, goodie bags for all pre-registered vehicles, and dash plaques for the first 200 registrants, this year’s show is looking to be our biggest and best yet,” said Mr. Thompson. “It will sell out, so register your vehicles soon!”

For vendor or car show registration information or to purchase tickets for the Friday night event, visit the Wings & Wheels website at http://www.wings-wheels.com/ or call the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce 856-1544.

Wings & Wheels sponsors include Mid-Atlantic Ford Dealers, Perdue Farms, The Voice Radio Network, Splash DesignWorks, CHEER, Fulton Bank, Lighthouse Catering, Sussex Eye Center, Wilmington University, County Bank, the Meoli Companies, Chardon Jewelers, Sussex County Delaware and Southern Delaware Tourism.

Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce at 856-1544 for information.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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