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Honoring Bay Area WW II Vets on Father's Day

The USS Hornet Museum’s Living Ship Series pays tribute to WW II veterans.

From a USS Hornet Museum press release

As part of its Living Ship Day series, the USS Hornet Museum will honor more than 30 Bay Area WWII veterans on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17. “Stories of Glory II” will be one of the largest gatherings of local surviving WWII veterans, representing all branches of the United States Armed Forces. The USS Hornet is located at 707 W. Hornet Ave., Pier 3, in Alameda.

The day will feature a panel of veterans beginning at 1 p.m.  Among those scheduled to speak are Sgt. Francis “Jeep” Sanza of Napa, personal jeep driver to General Patton in Europe, and Doug Aitkin, who served aboard the USS Hadley and shot down more than 23 kamikazes in a day. Other veterans will also be available for a special “meet and greet” throughout the day.

Other special guests include, Mikey Ganitch, who survived the Pearl Harbor attack onboard the USS Pennsylvania, Richard Nowatzi, a former USS Hornet CV-8 crew member who was present until she was sunk in combat, and Cliff Davidson, who served in Patton’s army in France and two-time Purple Heart recipient.  

Veterans attending the ceremony include Navy and Army bomber pilots and members from the famed Tuskegee Airman Group.

The public is invited onboard for an array of special events that will appeal to people of all ages, including families with children. Among the day’s highlights are a musical performance from the Frisky Frolics and WWII Era Military Displays and historical re-enactments by the Santa Cruz Living History Group.

Living Ship Day aboard the Hornet offers something for everyone. The museum comes to life as an operating aircraft carrier with flight simulations between 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. as aircraft are lifted to the flight deck and placed into launch position. Visitors can meet former crew, sit in the cockpit of a fighter jet, and enjoy the sights and sounds of naval aviation.  There will also be a Big Band performance at 1 p.m.  .

Living Ship Day demonstrations are held on the third Saturday of most months. Normal museum hours and admission prices apply. Ample free parking is available across from the pier.

The USS Hornet Museum is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Regular museum admission is $6-$15 for youths through adults. For more information, visit www.uss-hornet.org or call (510) 521-8448.

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