Sequim D-Day ceremony set amid Peninsula flyover of P-51 Mustang fighters
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A North American P-51D Mustang at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. U.S. Air Force

Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Three vintage fighter planes flying over the North Olympic Peninsula will grace a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day at 10 a.m. this morning by the James Center for the Performing Arts at the Water Reuse Demonstration Site in Sequim.

Viewing places for the flyover of the P-51 Mustangs also have been organized in Port Townsend and Port Angeles, but no ceremonies are planned on the ground in those cities.

The planes will fly in a “three-ship ‘V’ for victory” formation, said Jessica Leftwich of the Historic Flight Foundation of Mukilteo, which is hosting a daylong ceremony to mark the Allied Forces’ invasion of Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944.

Four planes were originally scheduled but one has broken down and will not be repaired in time for the flight, Leftwich said Thursday.

The P-51 Mustangs were fast, high-altitude fighters that protected bombers as they flew into enemy territory.

In Sequim, city and veteran group leaders will speak about the anniversary before the three vintage P-51 Mustang fighter planes from World War II fly over the Peninsula.

The planes, sponsored by the Historic Flight Foundation in Mukilteo, are expected to fly over the James Center at 10:30 a.m.

Mayor Candace Pratt, and Councilmen Dennis Smith and Erik Erichsen, who are veterans, will speak at the ceremony, along with Carl Bradshaw, commander of the Jack Grennan American Legion Post 62 in Sequim.

Bradshaw is also slated to play taps alongside the Marine Corps Honor Guard.

The Mustangs are scheduled to leave from the Historic Flight Foundation at Paine Field near Everett at 9 a.m.

They are expected to fly at speeds of 230 mph north to Bellingham before circling over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to loop back over the Peninsula.

Other locations

Other viewing locations on the Peninsula will be:

■   City Pier at Lincoln Street and Railroad Avenue in Port Angeles at 10:23 a.m.

■   Pope Marine Park across from Port Townsend City Hall at 10:34 a.m.

Today’s flyover times are dependent on air traffic control, Leftwich said.

She said the P-51s can also be followed on the Web via real-time GPS at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-p51flyover.

John Sessions of the Historic Flight Foundation will lead today’s formation in P-51B “Impatient Virgin,” the same aircraft that flew four sorties over Normandy on D-Day.

Others will be flown by Greg Anders of the Heritage Flight Museum in the P-51D “Val Halla” and Carter Teeters in P-51D “Upupa Epops” from the Flying Heritage Collection.

P-51D “Hell-er Bust” broke down. It was to have been flown by Mark Petersen of Boise, Idaho.

At noon, the vintage planes are expected to fly over Lake Forest Park, Woodinville, Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, New Castle, Kent, Federal Way, McChord Air Force Base, Gray Army Airfield, DuPont, Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater, Gig Harbor, Vashon Island, Belfair, Bainbridge Island, Poulsbo and Kingston before returning to Mukilteo by 3 p.m.

For more information, visit www.historicflight.org/hf or contact Leftwich at jessica@historicflight.org or 425-348-3200.

Last modified: June 05. 2014 7:07PM
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