A distinguished visitor made it to the open cockpit portion of the Food for Life Day at the Hill Aerospace Museum after he missed the event extended to him by special invitation in 2009.
The multipronged event held annually opens up the cockpits of several of the aircraft on display and when Robert Jaynes visited the museum unannounced, efforts were made to open up the C-47 Skytrain especially for him. Poor health had prevented his attendance the previous year.
Jaynes was assisted up the stairs to the aircraft, and the former World War II pilot got his chance to survey the cockpit of an aircraft similar to that in which he delivered relief supplies to the 141st Infantry Regiment. The unit had been cut off from Allied Forces during the Battle of the Bulge.
Those present as Jaynes reminisced were fortunate to hear his stories as he told about the time his landing gear was damaged by heavy anti-aircraft guns but his plane managed to land anyway. The crew found out about the damage only after reaching the ground.
A car show attendant for the portion of the Food for Life Day events talked to Jaynes and those with him and made sure he got the cockpit experience and also a ride in a '41 Ford.
Jeff Holmes, museum volunteer, explained the pairing of events. "We wanted to combine cars with vintage airplanes." He said a lot of those who worked on these models of aircraft also worked on the automobiles of the same time period.
The meaning and purpose of the event, to collect food and funds for the Airmen's Attic, was a fitting charitable effort for the museum event, he said.
Generations were reached across as Senior Master Sgt. Les Bowen could be seen showing his children a UH-1F Iroquois helicopter.
At another instant, one small boy could be heard calling out to his father, "Dad, look at that airplane."
The Air Force Association chili cook-off held separately out on the lawn, drew six well qualified teams in the pursuit of that perfect pot of chili with or without beans and cooks had been enthusiastically steaming their pots all morning. The aroma of several pots of steaming chili filled the air as the chili tasting opened for savoring. The Reserve Officers Training Corps from Utah State University even provided Aggie sour cream with a blue tint, with cheese and a chocolate base for their chili. "Chocolate all the way," said the crew of the three different varieties offered up for tasting. A zesty variety filled the crockpot which they entered in competition. The other two varieties were provided just for fun.
Northrup Grumman supported three teams and its Going Ballistic team took the civilian category for first place.
Clearfield JROTC took honors for first place in the military team category and people's choice award.
Hill's own Airman and Family Readiness Center placed third with its chili in the military category. Tom Badman, A&FRC director, attributed teamwork as the secret ingredient that brought together their chili, just as a spectator came by and declared their chili the best and that it had secured her vote.
In the back of the Stewart Fighter Gallery, music could be heard, the sounds of the Ogden Concert Band playing for an appreciative crowd. Gary Thornley, volunteer with the museum, and member of the band, described the variety of musical styles the musicians had performed afterward.
A John Phillip Sousa march, a Spanish paso doble, "The Star Spangled Banner" and the "Air Force Hymn" had been among their offerings. The band practices once a week at Weber State University and the group is co-sponsored by Ogden City.
"We play the first Monday of each month in the summer at Ogden Amphitheater," Thornley said. The group has a variety of members with varying musical backgrounds to play the skilled and technical music.
The group has toured Europe twice and was invited to Taiwan at the expense of that foreign government. Anyone interested in joining the group is welcome to contact him at the museum where he works as a volunteer on Friday afternoons. The process to join does require a certain level of accomplishment and some effort on the part of the entrant.
Tom Hill, co-chairman of the event, mentioned the approximately 60 Air Force volunteers and 40 museum volunteers who contributed to the event's success. The Clearfield JROTC Booster Club, 75th Medical Group Squadron supplied volunteers and the 75th Logistics Readiness Squadron provided buses and drivers. Hill noted the stellar support provided by Hill AFB for the event. "It's a lot of work but it's worth it," he said.
A total of 3,600 visitors attended and 2,600 pounds of food gathered as part of the effort for the Airmen's Attic for military families in need at the base.