Local aviators will take part in V-J Day 75th anniversary celebration

The Stearman is loaded, via crean, onto the USS Essex. (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)
by Cathy Hansen, special to Aerotech News

Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher, co-owners of a 1942 Stearman bi-plane, will be flying in the Legacy of Peace Aerial Parade in Hawaii on Sept. 2, 2020, over the battleship Missouri in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Victory over Japan Day is the day on which Imperial Japan surrendered in World War II, in effect bringing the war to an end.

The term has been applied to both of the days on which the initial announcement of Japan’s surrender was made – Aug. 15, 1945, in Japan, and because of time zone differences, Aug. 14, 1945 — as well as to Sept. 2, 1945, when the surrender document was signed, officially ending World War II.

According to the 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II website, the Secretary of Defense, Dr. Mark T. Esper, authorized the transport of up to 24 World War II warbirds to Hawaii aboard the USS Essex (LDH-2) to participate in the planned Commemoration flyover the Battleship Missouri.

Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher in front of Stearman at NAS North Island, Calif. (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)

Aircraft onboard include: one PT-17 Stearman; two North American T-6s; a Grumman TBM Avenger; North American P-51; Grumman Bearcat F8F-2; two Consolidated PBY flying boats; one really rare flying Grumman FM2 Wildcat; North American T-28 Trojan and a North American B-25 Mitchell Bomber.

There have been five U.S. Navy ships named for Essex County, Mass. The first USS Essex of the United States Navy was a 36-gun or 32-gun sailing frigate that participated in the Quasi-War with France, the First Barbary War, and in the War of 1812.

In World War II, USS Essex (CV-9) was an aircraft carrier built for the U.S. Navy and the lead ship of its class. The Essex served in the Pacific during World War II, and took part in many of the conflict’s major campaigns. Modernized after the war, it later saw combat in the Korean War. Essex remained in commission until 1969 and one of its final missions was the recovery of the Apollo 7 spacecraft in 1968.

Diane, in front, and Dustin, in rear, as they were being towed to the ship. (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)

The Pilots
Mojave resident, Diane Barney is an amazing young woman and no stranger to adventures. Her hometown is Albany, N.Y., and she will tell you that she intentionally came to work and live in the California desert. She served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years; graduated Perdue University with Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering degree. Diane chose Purdue University in Indiana, because of its Air Force JROTC program. When first coming to California, she worked at Scaled Composites as a Liaison Engineer and as a Flight Test Analyst Engineer (Consultant/Independent Contractor) at The Spaceship Company.

Presently, she is a Senior Flight Systems Engineer working with NASA Armstrong Test Center on the X-57 Maxwell all electric aircraft at Mojave Air and Spaceport.

She earned her Private Pilot Commercial license while serving in the Air Force in Texas and Oklahoma. She also owns a Grumman Tiger and a Piper J-3 Cub.

Dustin Mosher, a native of California earned his Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering degree at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Ariz., in 2012. While at Enbry-Riddle, he was president of the Embry-Riddle Music Club where they had a Bluegrass group. Dustin plays the fiddle, but was never formally trained as a musician. He just has the gift of feeling the music and playing.

A 1942 Stearman bi-plane (PT-17). (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)

Dustin describes himself as having a strong and pertinent interest in all things mechanical, from planes to trains to automobiles. This passion for machines and transportation lead him to the world of General Aviation and to obtaining his private pilot license. Dustin owns a Cessna 120 in addition to the PT-17 Stearman ‘Felix.’

He has worked at The SpaceShip Company at Mojave Air and Spaceport for the past six and a half years as a Simulator and Flight Test Engineer.

Diane and Dustin departed Tehachapi Airport on July 26 for Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego. After landing at North Island, the Stearman was towed from the flight line down Stockdale Road to the USS Essex (LHD-2), a Wasp-class amphibious assault ship. The Stearman was lifted by crane onto the deck of the ship.

A PBY Catalina Flying Boat. (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)

The 75th Commemoration of the End of World War II celebration has several goals.

1. To thank and honor veterans of World War II, including personnel who were held as prisoners of war or listed as missing in action, for their service and sacrifice on behalf of the United States and to thank and honor the families of these veterans.
2. To educate the public about the history of World War II and highlight the service of the Armed Forces during World War II and then contributions of federal agencies and governmental and non-governmental organizations that served with or in support of the Armed Forces.
3. To pay tribute to the contribution made on the home front by the people of the United States during World War II.
4. To recognize the contributions and sacrifices made by the allies.
5. To remember the Holocaust.

This will be a grand salute and appropriate recognition of The Greatest Generation, our World War II Veterans. Thank you Dustin Mosher and Diane Barney for responding to the article you saw back in January and for representing East Kern County in this significant and important anniversary.

A Grumman F6F Hellcat on deck of ship. (Photograph courtesy of Diane Barney and Dustin Mosher)


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