Historic World War II aircraft made it to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii this week to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of the war, according to the Navy.
The aircraft, which were hauled from San Diego aboard the amphibious assault ship Essex, arrived in Hawaii on Sunday for multiple flyovers this month and next month.
According to organizers of the 75th Commemoration of the End of WWII, an “Around Oahu” flyover is slated for Aug. 29 and a “Connecting the Military Bases” flyover is scheduled on Aug. 30.
The flyovers will close with a “Fly Over the Battleship Missouri Memorial, Pearl Harbor to Waikiki” on September 2 as part of an official commemoration aboard the Battleship Missouri Memorial’s deck.
A total of 14 classic combat aircraft are involved in the events, including a B-25 Mitchell bomber and a P-51 Mustang. B-25 bombers were used during the Doolittle Raid over Japan in April 1942, and the P-51 Mustangs were used by the Tuskegee Airmen from the 332nd Fighter Group.
Other WWII aircraft also involved in the flyovers are multiple SNJ/AT- 6 Texans, a Grumman FM2 Wildcat, a Grumman F8F Bearcat, and a Grumman TBM Avenger.
“We are honored to join the State of Hawaii in supporting the 75th Commemoration series of events. The World War II Warbird aerial performances are a symbolic reminder of our Greatest Generation’s will and determination that ultimately led to victory. Indeed, the legacy of our World War II heroes lives on in the Pacific,” Adm. Phil Davidson, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, said in a recent news release.
In addition to the flyovers, the commemoration will also feature the premiere of the WWII documentary “1st to Fight: Pacific War Marines” at the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum on Aug. 30. An official commemoration dinner is slated aboard the Missouri on Sept. 1, followed by a ceremony on Sept. 2 honoring Missouri crewmembers aboard the battleship and broadcast online.
All in-person events will require temperature checks, health screening questions, mandatory masks, among other precautions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Likewise, organizers said they will preserve a “travel bubble” around WWII veterans and other at-risk attendees.
“For many of our WWII veterans, these Warbirds hold very special significance, unleashing memories that, in many cases, they never shared,” Elissa Lines, Executive Director of Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum, said in a statement.
“To have these Warbirds in Hawaii, flying over the very deck of the USS Missouri where the Instrument of Surrender was signed on September 2, 1945 ending this global conflict, to honor all WWII veterans, is a tribute that will live on in the hearts of all who see it,” Lines said. “We can’t thank the DoD and our U.S. Navy enough for making this possible.”