Military aircraft to fly over Armed Forces Day Parade route

James Beaty, McAlester News-Capital, Okla.
·2 min read

Apr. 28—While the 2021 Armed Forces Day celebration won't include a fly-in at McAlester Regional Airport, some military aircraft pilots still intend to participate in AFD activities.

During the Armed Forces Day Parade, set to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, in Downtown McAlester, pilots plan to fly several military aircraft over the parade route, said AFD Chairman Jeff Wolf.

Members of the 138th TFW, Tactical Fighter Wing have accepted an invitation to fly over the Armed Forces Day parade route, Wolf said. The group plans to bring some F-16 Fighting Falcons to fly over the parade route, he said.

"We're going to have some vintage warbirds from World War II," Wolf added, with aircraft used for training during World War II planning to make the flight to McAlester for a flyover during the parade.

Also, Wolf said an aircraft used as an observation plane during the Vietnam War era has been added, a Cessna O-2A Bird Dog. Nicknamed the Oscar Deuce, it's a twin engine aircraft.

"It has an engine in the front and an engine in the back, pushing," Wolf said the aircraft uses what is called a push-pull configuration. The front engine is in the nose of the plane, with the second one in back of the fuselage.

"It's probably my third favorite airplane of all time," Wolf said.

Col. Colby Wyatt plans fly over the parade route in his Vietnam era Cessna 0-2 Bird Dog aircraft, he said.

In the Vietnam War, the O-2B Bird Dog was equipped with loudspeakers and equipment to dispense leaflets from the plane, to be used in psychological operations.

It proved to be dangerous duty, with 178 United States Air Force 0-2 Skymaster planes lost during the Vietnam War.

Plans call for the McAlester Armed Force Day Parade to give parade-goers an opportunity to see a Cessna O-2 Bird Dog plane as it flies overhead.

Wolf hopes the flyovers along the parade route will keep parade-goers abuzz during this year's parade.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.