Pilots volunteer airplanes and time to continue “Salute from the Shore” despite sequestration

Pilots volunteer airplanes and time to continue "Salute from the Shore" despite sequestration (Image 1)

When the sequestration grounded the F-16s from Shaw Air Force Base, no one was sure if the Independence Day salute would still take off.

But a group of pilots got together, and decided to donate their aircrafts, and their time, to make the flight work.

Barry Avent is one of those pilots, whose C-47 will take veterans down the coast for Thursday's “Salute from the Shore.”

“This is the airplane that I love to fly the most, and it's got to do with my dad, and it's got to do with it's history,” Avent said.

His father flew C-47s in World War II, and Avent is happy to give back to other men and women, like his father.

“It's an awesome reminder to kind of use this as a tool, to kind of put history back together,” Avent explained.

But he is not alone in volunteering for the flight.

“It's a team effort, were all coming together. It's not just about the aircrafts, it's not just about the pilots that are coming together, it's also the veterans. They're the other part of the equation,” volunteer pilot Jim Zazas said.

“It's neat to be able to say thank you to all of our active and past and career and retired military,” Avent added.

Volunteer pilot Wendell Hall said making the trip is an honor.

“Flying to us is special anyhow, and to be able to do it for a tribute to the fourth and to the veterans, just makes it all worth the while,” Hall said.

Avent and Hall made the trip last year, and said the flyover is quick, but for veterans the salute goes a long way.

“It's pretty special and you can see it in their eyes, they really enjoy it and they really appreciate the salute,” Hall said.

So when the planes cruise the coast Thursday afternoon, the pilots encourage beach goers to stop, and thank a veteran with a simple salute.

To read more about the “Salute from the Shore” and other Fourth of July events, click here.

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