Veterans

September 21, 2012

PCS honors wife of veteran

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Rebecca Amber
Staff Writer

The theme for this month’s PCS was model aviation and featured a hangar full of various model airplanes.

Grace Wells is shown standing next to an RC B-17 model in honor of her husband Steve Wells.

Plane Crazy Saturday, a monthly event at the Mojave Air and Spaceport was held Sept. 15.

The theme for this month’s event was model aviation and featured a hangar full of various model airplanes. Three modeling clubs were represented at the event, the Muroc Model Masters, the Bear Valley Springs Radio Control Club and the Apollo Field Warbird Squadron from Van Nuys, Calif.

“We wanted to make this a more family event,” said MSgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Accurso, Maintenance Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge of aerospace ground equipment, who has been flying RC models for 30 years.

“It’s wonderful to be here at Mojave because model airplanes aren’t traditionally something you would see at a place like this,” said Accurso, “But to be invited and to be included in the aviation community is special for all of us who fly models.”

Accurso explained that for the modelers in attendance, this event was about much more than model aviation. World War II veteran Steve Wells was a B-17 radio operator for the U.S. Army Air Corps during his service. Wells died at the age of 90 and is survived by his wife Grace Wells. Ten RC model B-17s were placed on display in honor of Wells.

Members of three model aviation groups came out for PCS, the Muroc Model Masters, the Bear Valley Springs Radio Control Club and the Apollo Field Warbird Squadron.

On Sept. 5, 1944, Well’s B-17 “Moonlight Serenade” crashed in France and Wells evaded capture for six weeks with the help of French family. Accurso told Well’s story and then started up all four engines on his RC B-17 model for visitors to hear.

That same morning, two T-34s and two Nanchang CJ-6As flew in formation into the Mojave Airport from Camarillo Airport to join the other static displays. Visitors were also pleasantly surprised when a Supermarine Spitfire Mk XIV flew over the Mojave Airport that morning, commemorating the Battle of Britain.

Jim ‘Mad Hatter’ Christopherson from the Apollo Field Warbird Squadron said that the group is “open and free to everyone that wants to join, all you need is a warbird.” The club’s youngest member is the 13-year old grandson of B-17 pilot and the oldest member is 76 years old.

MSgt. Anthony ‘Tony’ Accurso, started up all four engines on his RC B-17 model for visitors to hear.

PCS is a monthly event sponsored by the Mojave Transportation Museum. The event is held on the third Saturday of every month at the Mojave Air and Spaceport.

Sept. 29, MTM will present Plane Crazy Saturday Two at the California City Municipal Airport. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is for the month of September only. The event’s featured special guest is World War II WASP Flora Belle Reece with a presentation at 11 a.m. The event is family-friendly and free to the public.




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