Tuskegee Airmen to join Boy Scouts at AirCamp 2014
By Susan Johnson
AirCamp 2014 is a major Boy Scout Jamboree that will be held at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport Oct. 10-12. At least 4,000 Scouts and their leaders will camp on the grounds while soaking up a weekend of aviation and S.T.E.M.-related activities.
Tom Brooks of the Tumilowicz Scout Center spoke with The Rock River Times. “There will be a Friday reception at Midway Village with a video presentation,” he said. “Every year we have our Distinguished Citizen Luncheon, and this event replaces that. We will be presenting the Tuskegee Airmen with the Legacy of Service Award. They will each get one.
“Saturday, they will be at the AirCamp between 10 and 2. It’s kind of a ‘Hall of Heroes’ living history thing. We want the kids to meet these guys and realize that World War II was not like a black-and-white TV event. The Tuskegee guys had the added experience of overcoming the racial problem. They are not shy about saying that, and we are not shy about telling the kids about it.
“Saturday night, there will be a big arena show at one of the hangars. We have the U.S. Navy rock and roll band Horizon. It’s like the marching band, except it’s rock and roll. Astronaut Jim Lovell is the honorary chairman.”
Brooks also told us: “That weekend, we will be the 10th largest community in Winnebago County. This is the third time we have hosted this event. (It was previously held in 2005, 2010 and 2014.) It is always a huge success.”
The four Tuskegee Airmen, all from Illinois, who all served in World War II, are: Hollis Cornelius of Chicago; Virgil Poole of Glenwood; O. Lawton Wilkerson of Markham; and Milton Williams of Chicago.
The Airmen will be featured in the Hall of Heroes Pavilion, where they will meet with the Scouts during the day to provide them with a living history experience about World War II. Other local World War II aviators will be joining them for this unique event.
The EAA pilots are volunteering to provide some of the Scouts with their first “Young Eagle” airplane ride during AirCamp 2014.
Scouts! Want to go for plane ride? A limited number of flights for Scouts will be available on Saturday during AirCamp. Waiver/Registration: https://db.tt/Pyia8TuJ. This is open to Boy Scouts and Venturing Scouts. Because of the limited number of flights, riders will be chosen on a lottery system. If you are chosen, your ride time will be handed out during AirCamp registration. Turn in your completed waiver form, along with Unit number and district, to the Council office by noon, Oct. 9.
AirCamp 2014 and Tuskegee Airmen Reception sponsors are: Alpine Bank, Bill O’Donnell, Chicago-Rockford International Airport, Crusader Clinic, Dealer Alliance, Dental Dimensions, Etnyre, First Rockford Group, Gambino Realtors, Illinois Bank & Trust, IPSEN, J.F. Heckinger, Jack Packard, Janet Kjellstrom, Midwest Aero Support, Poplar Grove Airport, Radisson Conference Center, Ray Wood, Rockford University, Rock Valley College, Rosecrance, Rydell Family Foundation, UTC, Viking Chemical, William Charles, and Winnebago County.
From the Oct. 8-14, 2014, issue