Legends & Heroes Autograph Tent
Meet aviation, military legends and heroes at our Autograph Tent. Throughout the day, flying aces, decorated war-heroes, veterans and special guests will be present to sign autographs. Many of these living legends will also offer for sale copies of their autobiographies and other memorabilia. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet these heroes and hear their stories!
**Below is a list of some of the Legends who attended in 2016 This list will be updated as we get closer to the event and is subject to change.**
Cdr. Mark Vizcarra and Capt. Michael Vizcarra
Cdr Mark Vizcarra, USN and Capt Michael Vizcarra, USN – provided 51 years of combined Navy military service to the United States, flying the F-14 Tomcat, F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet. Graduates of the Navy Fighter Weapons Schools (Top Gun), they served on 14 different aircraft carriers and participated in “Southern Watch”, “Desert Storm”, and “Enduring Freedom”. The two brothers followed the family military aviation tradition and are the sons of Col. (Ret.) Victor Vizcarra, F-105 Vietnam Veteran and nephews of Maj. (deceased) Gilbert Vizcarra who flew P-47s in World War II.
CMSgt Doyle Whitehead
CMSgt Doyle Whitehead, USAF, served as a member of the USAF’s elite Special Air Missions Squadron. This group provided safe and reliable air transportation for the President of the United States, Vice President, First Lady, Presidential Cabinet, U.S. Congressional delegations. He directly served President Eisenhower, President Kennedy, and President Johnson. Chief Whitehead was aboard Air Force One in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 when President Kennedy was assassinated and flew with him back to Washington D.C.
Col Jerry Ross
Jerry Ross is a NASA Astronaut with a record of seven space flights and nine space walks.
Col. Victor Vizcarra
Col. Victor Vizcarra, USAF, accumulated 3,590 total hours in his 24-year Air Force career, 2,694 hours of which were in F-100s, F-105s, F-5s, and F-4s. A Vietnam combat veteran, he did three temporary duty deployments to Southeast Asia where he flew 59 combat missions in the F-105D. On July 27, 1965, he flew in Operation Spring High, the first attack of a Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) in the history of aerial combat, where six of the 46 mission F-105s were lost.
PFC Jim “Pee Wee” Martin
PFC Jim “Pee Wee” Martin served with the 101st Airborne Division from 1942-1945. He participated in the D-Day invasion parachuting behind enemy lines. Afterwards Jim was involved with Operation Market Garden and Bastogne. Their exploits were made famous by the HBO mini-series “Band Of Brothers”
SN James R. Leavelle
On December 7, 1941, Jim Leavelle was aboard the USS Whitney when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Twenty-two years later, he would witness history once again as a homicide detective for the Dallas Police Department when President Kennedy was assassinated. Leavelle interrogated Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s alleged assassin, and is know as “the man in the tan suit” in the famed photo of Oswald’s assassination at the hands of Jack Ruby.
T/Sgt. Raul Baldit
Baldit was a combat infantryman of the 87th Division of the Third Army. In 1944 his unit entered combat in France’s Alsace-Lorraine. Following heavy fighting, his division crossed the German border in the Saar Region on 15 Dec 1944. On 25 Dec 1944, his unit took part in the historic counterattack in The Battle of the Bulge. His division attacked the German Panzer Lehr Division near Bastogne. Sgt. Baldit also participated in the Breaching of the Siegfried Line, Moselle River Crossing, Capture of Koblenz, and the Rhine Crossing.
Col. Dick Cole, Doolittle Raiders
Dick Cole was Gen. James Doolittle’s co-pilot on the Tokyo Raid. The Doolittle Raiders were a group of 80 volunteer airmen from the U.S. Army Air Forces who on April 18, 1942, flew 16 B-25 Mitchell airplanes from the deck of the USS Hornet on a daring mission to bomb Japan. For his action Lt. Col. Cole received the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal, and many other decorations.
Col. Dean Caswell
One of the last U.S. Marine Corps pilots to become a fighter ace in World War II. Col. Dean Caswell joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942. He was assigned to Marine Fighter Squadron 221 aboard the USS Bunker Hill for combat in the Pacific, Japanese homeland islands, Iwo Jima, Honshu and Kyushu with major action against the Kamikaze. He was credited with 7 kills and three probable flying the F4U Corsair during the Pacific campaign. Mr. Caswell served two tours in the Korean War as an AII-Weather Fighter Pilot.
MSgt Wes Fields
Fields is a 24 year decorated USAF combat veteran as an aerial gunner on the AC-130 gunship. He participated in numerous special operation missions throughout the world. From supporting coalition forces during the first Iraqi offensive in the Gulf War of 1991 to the Bosnian War of 1995, NATO’s biggest combat undertaking and the largest air operation in Europe since World War II.
CW 4 Daniel Flores
Flores is a native Houstonian and flew the AH-64 Apache helicopter. Flores was activated in 2005 to be deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom and, during his one year tour, was witness to the resurgence of the Taliban. Daniel participated on some of the fiercest fighting in the Hindu Kush Mountains.
Celeste was a dispatcher for the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPT) for Aviation Enterprises at Municipal Airport, now named Hobby Airport, in Houston. A contract was awarded the company to train women pilots to free up men for combat. Celeste stayed on as dispatcher. The Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP) program began in Houston as the Army Air Force Women Flight Training Detachment (AAFWFTD). Later, the combined Army Air Force programs were officially named WASP.
PFC Birney T. “Chic” Havey served in the Army in the 42nd Rainbow Division. Chic fought in 3 major battles, The Battle of Northern France, The Battle of the Bulge, The Battle of Germany and helped liberate Dachau Concentration Camp. He was wounded in the Battle of Germany on March 1, 1945 earning the Purple Heart, as well as a Bronze Star with an Oak Leaf Cluster for Meritorious Achievement against the enemy, and the Silver Star for Valor in combat
Col. Joe McPhail
Col. Joe McPhail, USMC, was a member of the most successful Marine Fighting squadron of 1945 was VMF-323, the “Death Rattlers.” In a just a few weeks, they shot down 124.5 Japanese planes and counted a dozen aces. On April 12, 1945, while on patrol flying a Corsair, Joe McPhail shot down a lone Ki-27 Nate.
Lieutenant(jg) Tilman E. Pool, UNSR
Tilman Elison Pool was born in Houston. Joining the Navy on July 28,1942, he completed pilot training at Pensacola on November 16, 1943, and, after a land-base tour with VF-39 in the Marshal Islands, he joined VF-17 fling F6F Hellcats from the USS Hornet (CV-17) on February 1, 1945. Tally Record: 6 confirmed, one probable and one damaged. Decorations: Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Gold Stars and the Air Medal with 4 Gold Stars.
Sgt. Bryan Smothers
Bryan Smothers is a decorated Vietnam Veteran (Nov. 1967- Feb. 1969) who proudly served with the elite 101st Airborne Division and with the First ARVN Division as an advisor. He is an eighth-generation American and sixth-generation Texan.
LTJG Charles E. (Billy) Watts, USNR
Charles Edward (Billy) Watts was born in Ben Wheeler, Texas. He attended East Texas State University in 1939-1940 and entered Navy pilot training on May 7,1942. Embarked in USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) from October 1943 to March 1944, Fighting Squadron 18 participated in major operations against Japanese naval air bases throughout the Pacific. Tally record: 8 3/4 confirmed. Decorations: Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross with two Gold Stars, Purple Heart and the Air Medal with seven Gold Stars.
Sadly, we have more to add to this display and will be updating this list.
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