Airport hosting Armed Forces Day event

After a good turnout at last year’s inaugural event, local officials are looking forward to another Armed Forces Day spent honoring those who have bravely served their county.

Blue Diamond Aviation and the Russellville Airport Authority will host the 2nd Annual Russellville Airport Armed Forces Day event on Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the airport, which is located at 13365 Alabama 243 in Russellville.

This year’s special guest speaker will be Warren Trest, author of “Wings of Denial: The Alabama Air National Guard’s Covert Role at the Bay of Pigs,” who will also hold a book signing following the presentation at 1 p.m.

“Warren is a historian and has written a very interesting book about the role our national guard played in this event,” said Harry Mattox, Blue Diamond Aviation and Russellville Airport manager.

“I have read the book and it’s very compelling, and I’m sure his presentation will be very interesting.”

Mattox said the Sheffield American Legion color guard will be on hand to post the colors and give a rifle salute in honor of all the soldiers who have died.

“This was a really special event last year, and I’m sure this year’s event will be just as special,” he said.

The event will also feature an open house as well as a fly-in of several different planes, including Red Thunder, which is B.J. Kennamore’s flying team.

“We just wanted to do something to honor those who have served while also highlighting the airport and the services we offer here,” Mattox said.

Mattox will also be offering plane rides through Blue Diamond Aviation for $20 for a 15-minute circuit.

Barbecue lunch plates will be on sale for $10 a plate. All proceeds from the plane rides and barbecue lunches will go toward the purchase of a weather station for the Russellville Airport, which is able to determine certain important factors like barometric pressure, wind direction, wind speed, temperature, cloud base, and rainfall amounts.

“Right now, the closest weather station is in Haleyville, so this will just help us be more accurate with our conditions and better serve our pilots,” Mattox said.

“This is going to be a great day with lots to do and see, and we hope everyone will come out to this special event.”

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