2022 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show
Friday, 8 July and Saturday, 9 July
World War II Stearman instructor Norman Cockman and pilot Roy Kinsey before the first Veterans Flight in November 2010.
Veterans, pilots, family members, volunteers and supporters gather at Pensacola Aviation Center before the flights.
World War II veterans Jerry Yellin (Army Air Corps), Cass Phillips (Navy) and Jay Carraway (Navy) during Veterans Flight 2016.
Retired Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad Presented Lima Bravo Recognitions to World War II
Navy F6F Hellcat Pilot Art Leach (Lima Bravo #6) and World War II
USMC Corsair Pilot Lowell “Red” Truex (Lima Bravo #7)
Lima Bravo #4, Frank Emond, who is 104, is Next to Admiral Cozad
Veterans Flight 2022
Was A Great Success
Although we had only eight Stearmans, two T-6/SNJ’s and one T-34 this year due to a variety of medical, business, and mechanical problems, we still flew 25 veterans, plus numerous sponsors and volunteers.
The highlight of our operations was Saturday’s five Stearman Lima Bravo flight, which was led by Veterans Flight pilot Julie Thomas. Three 100+ years old World War II veterans, plus retired Rear Admiral Kyle Cozad and photographer Steven Stopler, flew in a five Stearman formation over Pensacola Beach. In addition to new Lima Bravo recipients Art Leach and “Red” Truex, we were honored to have Pearl Harbor Survivor Frank Emond, who is 104 years old and holds the distinction of Lima Bravo #2, in the front cockpit of Navy Stearman 708 during the flight.
After the flight Admiral Cozad, President & CEO of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, presented Lima Bravo recognitions to World War II Navy F6F Hellcat pilot Art Leach (102), Lima Bravo #6; and World War II Marine F4U Corsair pilot Lowell “Red” Truex (100), Lima Bravo #7.
Pearl Harbor Survivors Frank Emond, USN, and Bill Braddock, USMC, before Veterans Flight 2018.
Veterans Flight pilots John Laughter (515), Carey Hardin (470), Vic Syracuse (719) and Sam Hardin (469) over Pensacola Beach during Veterans Flight 2018
Stearmans on the flight line waiting patiently for the first flight of veterans.
Veterans Flight pilot Phil Webb (AAC #42) leads the Stearmans out for takeoff on runway 35 at Pensacola International Airport.
Retired Rear Admiral Kyle "kc" Cozad in the Front Cockpit of Howard Thomas's Super Stearman "Queen of Memphis" with Frank Emond, Lima Bravo #2, and Roy Kinsey in Navy Stearman #708
On Their Wing During Saturday's Lima Bravo Flight
In addition to the three Lima Bravo recipients who flew during Veterans Flight 2022, the four World War II veterans pictured below, all of whom are now deceased, earned Lima Bravo recognition by flying with Veterans Flight and celebrating their 100th birthdays. The passing of these four great Americans is a reminder we have few remaining opportunities to honor and thank the World War II veterans whose sacrifices made it possible for us to live in this great country.
Lima Bravo #1, Army B-29 Pilot Paul McClain, with Veterans Flight Pilot Carey Hardin
Lima Bravo #4, Navy F6F Hellcat Pilot Dick Pace, with Veterans Flight Pilot Roy Kinsey
Lima Bravo #3, Army B-25 Pilot John Beard,
Climbs into Phil Webb's Army Stearman
Lima Bravo #5, Navy PBY Pilot Cass Phillips, with Veterans Flight Pilot Carey Hardin
Although each passing year means there are fewer living World War II veterans to honor and thank, the support Veterans Flight receives has made it possible for us to bring more out of state veterans to the Pensacola Beach Air Show. In recent years veterans from Virginia, Illinois, and Alaska have traveled to Pensacola to fly. We are working to include more in the future, so please plan to join us July 7 & 8 for Veterans Flight – 2023 Pensacola Beach Blue Angels Air Show.
In addition to the 8 Stearman primary trainers that came to Pensacola for Veterans Flight 2022, the Stearmans were joined by 2 SNJ/T-6 advanced trainers and a T-34. This gave us an opportunity to fly veterans in the first two military airplanes many flew during World War II. (For many World War II aviators, a Stearman was the first airplane in which they had ever flown).
T-6 Pilot Phillip Grice on the Wing of Dave Robinson's SNJ as the Advanced Trainers roll in on Pensacola Beach during Veterans Flight 2021. Navy F6F Hellcat Pilot Art Leach is in the aft cockpit of the T-6 and Dan Peterson is in the aft cockpit of the SNJ. Photo was taken by Jeff Rease from Tony Diez's T-34.
* * *
If you know World War II aviators, email their contact information to
so we can invite them to fly with us next July