Flashback: Flag Day Air Show

  • Published
  • By Fly Leaf: 1920 Edition
  • March Field

More than 5000 people from throughout Southern California thronged to March Field last Monday afternoon to witness the Flag Day Air Show. Held under the direction of Lieut. Col. B. K. Young, commanding officer in the interest of recruiting, there was not an incident throughout the afternoon to mar the its success. Assisting the local heavier-than-aircraft from his field was a naval blimp from North Island, San Diego and two balloons from Ross Field, Arcadia.

The aerial program as outlined in last week’s issue of The Fly Leaf was carried out in detail with the exception of the navy scout planes from the Pacific Fleet. An aerial collision over Rockwell Field last Saturday resulted in the death of Lieut. Louis T. Barin, naval aviator, and prevented the flight from that station to March Field. Cadet Joseph T. Walker, graduate of this field, collided with the naval scout but escaped uninjured.

An actual count of 862 private automobiles passed through the main entrance (of the base). In addition, there were several passenger busses and one horse drawing a single-seated surrey. The crowd began assembling shortly after noon and the field soon took on a carnival day aspect. Festivities centered about headquarters and Hangars 8 and 9.

For the social set, it was dress parade and for others, an opportunity to view Uncle Sam’s Air Service in all its glory. Men, women and children all thoroughly enjoyed the event.

In rapid succession, the various aerial events were staged while the audience divided its attention between craning necks, gasping thrills, soda pop, and the keen-witted remarks from a score or more circus barkers. Two bands, one from Ross Field and the March Field Band, kept the visitors in a “jazzy” atmosphere.

The real thrill of the afternoon came during the last event. This was the attack on the big observation balloon. When at about 3000 feet Lieut. George, American Ace, in a Spad, dove from the clouds on the big bag. Instantly, Lieut. C.H. Welch and Cadet K. L. Frazier, leapt from the balloon with parachutes. It was a pretty site to see these two men escaping through space from the attacking Spad, while two SE5’s pursed the Spad and succeeding in downing the attacking plane.