|Astronauts and former Naval aviators Gene Cernan, left, and Jim Lovell will headline Wednesday evening's special Navy Day program at Theater in the Woods.
As part of the week-long Centennial of Naval Aviation commemoration at EAA AirVenture 2011, a special "Navy Day" on Wednesday, July 27, will be filled with must-see attractions - capped off by an evening forum featuring renowned astronauts, Capt. Gene Cernan and Capt. Jim Lovell. Adm. Gary Roughead, the current U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, will also join Cernan and Lovell on stage for the Theater in the Woods program.
Special attractions, appearances, and forums will be held throughout the week as AirVenture is a designated Tier 1 event for the Navy's year-long centennial festivities.
Former "Good Morning America" host David Hartman will moderate the evening program as Cernan and Lovell will recall how their experiences as U.S. Navy pilots forged their careers into NASA and space exploration. Additional special guests will be announced at a later date. Theater in the Woods programming is presented by M&Ms.
"We are always honored to welcome Gene Cernan and Jim Lovell to AirVenture, and are honored to host Admiral Roughead as we celebrate 100 years of naval aviation," said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. "Not only can you experience the heritage of Navy aircraft, you can hear the stories of the people who built this legacy. This event will put the finishing touch on a very special day, one of many at AirVenture."
Cernan, EAA 456102, who served as a fighter pilot in the U.S. Navy, is one of only two men to have flown to the moon twice, becoming the last man to step foot on the moon as commander of Apollo 17 in 1972. Lovell, EAA 320945, who was a U.S. Navy test pilot, served on several missions, including Apollo 8 in 1968 that was first to orbit the moon and Gemini 7 space flight that lasted nearly 14 days in 1965. Lovell is well known for commanding the near-disastrous Apollo 13 that became a model of crisis ingenuity and teamwork.
From unique restorations and replicas to today's modern fighters, the largest collection of naval aircraft spanning all eras ever assembled in one location will highlight AirVenture all week. Naval aircraft will be showcased on ConocoPhillips Plaza, and dozens will be located at special parking area dubbed "NAS Oshkosh" located just east of Scotts Warbird Alley.
Navy World War II-, Korean-, and Vietnam-era warbirds will join modern day fighters in a special tribute to naval aviation during the day's afternoon air show, honoring the legacy built over the past 100 years by the veterans who served and sacrificed in them.
The always popular Warbirds in Review on July 27 will profile the Navy pilots and current owners of a comprehensive list of naval aircraft on Scotts Warbird Alley, including an F8F Bearcat painted in a Blue Angels scheme, an F7F Tigercat, and an award-winning SNJ Tailhook trainer. Additional forums and interview sessions will be held alongside featured aircraft on ConocoPhillips Plaza.
"Navy Day" will kick off with an "Honor Flight" that will transport approximately 80 World War II naval veterans from AirVenture on a Southwest Airlines 737 to Washington, D.C., where they will spend the day touring the memorials in their honor before returning to Oshkosh to a heroes' welcome.