Wings-n-Wheels

Walterboro, SC – April, 2016 We were lucky enough to attend a great car and air show one beautiful Saturday afternoon. The Walterboro Wings-n-Wheels event benefits the Wounded Warrior Project. It took place at the Lowcountry Regional Airport on the outskirts of Walterboro.

The event was a great value at only $10 per carload. They had a bunch of food vendors. The food must have been good because the lines were very long. We were grateful we’d eaten before we came.

Pilots had flown in from all over to participate. There were as many as 50 airplanes parked there and more arrived while we were there. It was a lot of fun to walk around them and peek in their cockpits. Some of the pilots were around to answer questions.

The LifeNet helicopter was there for a while before he flew away.

You could get a ride in a vintage biplane for $115.

After looking over the planes for a while we wandered to the car show area. They had about as many cars as planes.

It was fun to look through them and see the restorations. Car shows are a great trip down memory lane, especially for Jim. He’s all ” this was the model of so and so’s first car” and “this was the type of car my best friend totaled in high school” and “remember the such and such car I told you I restored in my 20″s, this is pretty close except…” It’s fun for both of us. Here’s one that was popular in his teens.

I like when the owners have signs or albums showing the restoration or telling their car’s story. Not all the cars were completely restored though.

After another trip back through the planes it was time for the air show. They kicked it off with skydivers jumping over our heads. The skydivers trailed smoke and an airplane with a smoke tail flew loops around them during their decent.

A skydiver with an American flag was last to land. It was pretty spectacular.

Next, two biplanes took off and flew around the crowd several times making smoke rings. Here the biplanes are landing and two smaller, more maneuverable planes are taking off.

They were able to fly in a tighter formation.

They gave a great show flying straight up then spiraling down and leaving fantastic smoke trails.

They went on for quite a while. In fact, we got bored and wandered across the road to visit the Walterboro Army Airport Memorial Park. This airport was part of a major army air field during WW2. Pilots were trained here including the Tuskegee Airmen, the first black American military pilots in the US Armed Forces. The park contains a monument to these brave men.

We spoke to a local pilot when we first got to the air show and he mentioned that the Tuskegee Airmen were on the base during the same time as 250 German prisoners of war. He said that the locals treated the prisoners better than the black airmen. The park has several large informational boards with historical facts about the base, the pilots, and the POW’s. The signs seemed to support what he told us.

The sign about the German prisoners said that they were used as farm labor in the area and had a pretty decent camp. The highlight was a letter from a German sent after the war to the farm family he worked for expressing how fondly he remembered the time he spent in the US. Another sign talks about the Tuskegee airmen and mostly focuses on the resistance they met to Washington’s efforts to desegregate the officers on the base. When an order was sent to allow the black officers in to their clubs and to participate in their extracurricular activities, the white officers simply cancelled all their functions and moved their entertainment to the town’s private country club. Efforts to desegregate were unsuccessful and ended when the base closed later that year.

The park and memorial are only 5 miles off I95 at exit 57. The Tuskegee Airmen Memorial is correctly located on Google Maps and I believe there are directional signs from the interstate. It would make a nice pitstop for anyone passing through.

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