WWII Museum-New Orleans

A Big “Thank You” to all the Cadets and Seniors who traveled together to New Orleans, and a special Thank You to our drivers who drove the entire trip! Thank You Michele and Nathan, the “super” troopers! Our trip from Katy to New Orleans started without a bang, in-fact, we couldn’t start one of the vans.  Quick thinking by Jeff, one of our senior members, kept the delay to 30 minutes and we were quickly on our way.  An hour later traffic came to a stop and more quick thinking by our drivers got us back on the road.  We arrived at the VFW Hall around 2am, and were met by our Host.  A Big “Thank You” to our Host and the VFW Hall for receiving us so late and providing sleeping arrangements for everyone.  Saturday morning arrived a little early, but everyone was ready to get to the museum.  We had a great visit at the WWII museum and managed a transitory visit to Cafe Du Monte, Beignets anyone! The museum is large, on a 6 acre campus, with 5 pavilions, and each building had video presentations along with scrolling video boards and many artifacts. Tom Hanks hosted the “Beyond all Boundaries”, tour presentation which was a very large multi-screen video with animatronics in the foreground, including vibrating seats, sprinkled with snow, and an “in-your-face” light show. Afterwards we made some purchases at the WWII museum shop and then had a little rest and relaxation, (R & R), while eating lunch at the museum. Across the street from the Tom Hanks video, we spent time viewing two different areas of WWII artifacts, presented in a winding progressive format starting from the beginning of the war in Europe and progressing to the end of the war. The progressive presentation is a must-see, and has more information, artifacts and videos, than you can see in one day. Moving on to the Hangar became a cold and winding trip around barricades, through the wind and finally to our destination. There were many full size planes hanging from the ceiling, with a stair case winding up one side of the enormous hangar and platforms to get closer to the planes. The Cadets and Seniors had a great time in the hangar and we took some photos of the experience all along the way.  Saturday was completed by a home cooked gumbo, provided by our Host, and then by a little bit of R & R.  The Cadets pulled out some games and the Seniors got to relax a bit.  Finally, we spent the next morning packing, cleaning and getting on the road, stopped for a bit of breakfast and then hurried to the Cafe Du Monte.

Thunderbird Wreaths Across America 2017

The Wreaths Across America campaign is complete:

Several TX-179 members volunteered at the Houston National Cemetery on Saturday, January 20, 2018. The clean up is an annual event held on the third Saturday each January following the Wreaths Across America ceremony and wreath laying from the previous December. Dozens of organizations and individuals volunteer their time and resources for this event. Thunderbird Composite Squadron’s participation was coordinated by 2d Lt Jennifer Hess. Attendees were 2d Lt Hess, Cadet Airman First Class Hess, Cadet Hansen, and Mr. Hansen. The 4 Thunderbirds met at section T (for Thunderbird!) at 0800 and had the entire section cleared by 0915. They then were joined by other volunteer groups and helped clear two other sections nearby. Mr. Hansen’s pickup truck came in handy as a convenient depository, which was filled twice with wreaths (and any other items placed on gravesites) and taken to one of the many temporary dumpsters placed within the cemetery. The volunteer clean up was substantially complete by 1030, and the cemetery grounds crew was combing the property by that time. The event was quite moving because many loved ones had brought flowers and symbolic items in memory of their late heroes. We are certainly thankful for the service and sacrifice of each individual and their families.

“It was a great honor to help clean up the cemetery. It was touching to see the personal items that were placed by grieving loved ones. I would like to encourage more members of the Thunderbird squadron to help clean up next time.”– Cadet Hess