Opening CeremonyThe museum opening ceremony was on May 19th, 2007.
Speakers and Special Guests
Our master of ceremony was Eric Beckler. Eric is a US naval Academy graduate and former Naval Aviator. He was an A-6 Pilot during Desert Storm and finished his Navy career as an Advanced Jet Instructor in TA-4Js. Eric is now the Chief Pilot for Dale Jarrett.
Our first guest speaker was Navy Captain Mike "Gintac" Ginter. Mike was at our 2003 airshow flying a S-3B Viking. Mike recieved his commision in he Navy through NROTC. Mike started flying in High School and went into Naval Aviation after recieving his commission. Mike flew S-3A's and B's on several combat cruises. Mike flew in Desert Storm and was Commanding Officer of VS-30 "The Diamond Cutters). Mike is currently finishing War College and will be going to work in the Pentagon this summer.
Our other speaker was Navy Lieutenant Mike Petronis. Mike was one of the crew that flew our F-14 on the Tomcat "Sunset Flight". Mike was a "RIO" with VF-31 "The Tomcatters" and participated in the final combat cruise for the F-14 Tomcat. Mike is currently stationed at NAS Oceana as an Instructor in the F/A-18 E & F Super Hornet with VFA-106 “Gladiators.”
Jeff Wofford also spoke about the history of the museum. Jeff is the Sabre Society President and Chief Pilot for Commscope Inc, and is one of the primary individuals that has made the museum possible. He was honored with a special award during the ceremony for his years of service to the organziation.
Bobby Baker presented the award to Jeff.
Special honored guests included one survivor from the Pearl Harbor attack, two veterans from the Normandy landings, two from the Korean War, and several from the Vietnam War. Don Lewis, a local Hickory pilot, flew 310 combat missions in Vietnam.
Here is Mr. George Shade.
Here Mr Shade speaks with Hickory Mayor G. Rudy Wright, Jr.
Guests had a chance to look at the aircraft collection, including the cockpit of the A-7.
Museum Curator Kyle Kirby mingles with guests.
We also had special guest aircraft.
One thing is for sure- everyone had a good time, and was glad to see the museum open!
Froggy Pete's Restaurant provided the delicious catering for the reception.
Special thanks to Jeff Willhelm for providing photographs!