By Mr. Derek Gean (Leonard Wood)May 19, 2016
Fort Leonard Wood community members had the opportunity to learn more about the post's airport and the aircraft that serve the installation, during an Airfield Appreciation Day Friday.
Fort Leonard Wood's Forney Army Airfield welcomed hundreds of people, including nearly 500 Waynesville R-VI School District students, to view airfield operations, explore various aircraft and visit with pilots, during the first-ever Airfield Appreciation Day.
"We wanted to bring everyone in to see Forney Airfield, to see all the great stuff we do here," said Tim Voss, safety and operations officer at the airport. He said the goal of the Fort Leonard Wood sponsored event was to help people be more aware of the airfield and the services available to the community.
There were nine different types of aircraft on display, including military and civilian. The aircraft featured, included ones used for defense, air travel and search and rescue. Visitors were able to see a UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47, both provided by the Missouri National Guard. The Mercy Health System Mercy Life Line helicopter was on display, as well as an A-10 Thunderbolt Attack plane From Whiteman Air Force Base. Airport officials said they were lucky to be able to display the A-10, because it happened to be on the installation as part of training with the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department.
"The A-10 was a big draw …I am sure the kids enjoyed it," Voss said.
Air National Guard Lt. Col. Michael Sadler, Cannon Range commander, visited with school children about the A-10 and even allowed them to get a hands-on view of the dummy rounds the aircraft uses.
"We just want everyone to get an awareness of everything we do here at Fort Leonard Wood and Cannon Range," Sadler said.
Other displays included ones from Cape Air -- which provides the community with air service to St. Louis, and Civil Air Patrol sponsors and students were on hand to promote their programs.
Mark Van Fossen, commander of the Civil Air Patrol's Fort Leonard Wood Composite Squadron, said group members wanted to make area students aware of the opportunities the nonprofit Air Force auxiliary organization can provide them with.
"It is a youth program geared around a military aspect of leadership, discipline," Van Fossen said. He said the program, meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays in Building 128.
Adults and students alike took advantage of the exhibits. One Waynesville High School junior studying engineering, said the event helped bring a different perspective to classroom material.
"I am here to learn about how these machines work and how they maneuver and how everything works together," said Derick Anglin, a member of the WHS engineering class.
"The helicopters are interesting; I looked at all the controls and stuff. It is really cool how they do all that," he said.