Military aircraft, both modern and vintage, will help the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets celebrate its homecoming Saturday, Sept. 17, as the Hokies face Boston College.
As part of Corps Homecoming and Military Appreciation Day, four aircraft from the Tri-State Warbird Museum in Batavia, Ohio, and one from the U.S. Air Force are expected to conduct military flyovers of Lane Stadium, barring weather or operational factors.
The 3rd Airlift Squadron, part of the 436th Airlift Wing at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, plans to fly a C-17 Globemaster III over Lane Stadium at about 3:30 p.m. during the National Anthem, which will follow the joint march-on by the cadets and a regiment of corps alumni.
At halftime, the Tri-State Warbird Museum plans to send the World War II-era C-45 Expeditor “Hokie Pokie” and three AT-6s over Lane Stadium during the military appreciation performance by the regimental band, the Highty-Tighties, and the Marching Virginians.
The museum’s flyovers are arranged by corps alumnus Stan Cohen, who earned his bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering in 1949 and master’s degree in civil engineering in 1951 from the College of Engineering.
Before enrolling at Virginia Tech, Cohen served with the 14th Air Force, 23rd Fighter Group, the Flying Tigers, in the China, Burma, and India Theater in 1945 flying the P-40.
Cohen will cover the cost associated with bringing the aircraft to Blacksburg.
Weather permitting, the C-45 and one AT-6 will do practice flights and then perform a flyover at the corps’ formal retreat ceremony to honor returning alumni at 4:45 p.m. The ceremony will be at the flagpole on the Upper Quad behind Lane Hall.
The regiment will form between Lane, Shanks, and Major Williams halls. The Color Guard will lower the flag; Skipper, the corps cannon, will fire; and the Highty-Tighties will play.
Plans call for two more AT-6s to arrive Saturday.
As part of Corps Homecoming and to honor the special relationship between Virginia Tech and the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia, cadets will be collecting donations for the memorial at each of the entry gates to Lane Stadium. To date, cadets have collected more than $207,000 for the National D-Day Memorial.
The Globemaster III’s primary function is to provide troop and cargo transport and it is one of the largest aircraft in the Air Force’s arsenal. With a wingspan of 169 feet and 10 inches, the C-17’s is actually wider than Worsham Field’s width of 159 feet.
The C-45 is based on the Beechcraft Corporation’s popular commercial airplane the Model 18 "Twin Beech," originally designed in 1936. It has a top speed of 225 MPH and a range of more than 1,200 miles. As a tribute to Cohen and Virginia Tech, this C-45 sports the nose art "Hokie Pokie."
The AT-6 is a single-engine advanced trainer that was the first complex aircraft flown by World War II cadets —it had retractable landing gear and a controllable pitch propeller. It was used to train fighter pilots, gunners, bombardiers, and navigators.