Reading Airshow June 2-5, 2016

October 22, 2016 - 1 Comment

by Jim Barnes


This year’s Reading event was blessed with reasonably good weather for the first couple of days. The third was another story – more on that later. The 193rd was again out in the farthest reaches of the airport grounds, with a US group largely hiding us from view, but we still got a good number of spectators passing through. Having the shooting range below us probably helped. If nothing else, people came by to check out the noise.

As we toured the grounds, my wife and I were surprised to see a large encampment of the Chinese Nationalist Army in the Pacific theater area. This has been a largely neglected impression and that is unfortunate given the scope and duration of the fighting in China during the war. It was refreshing to see a group recognizing the contributions of the Chinese people to defeating the Japanese empire. They did fight a skirmish with Japanese reenactors portraying a rescue of downed American airmen. The group seemed to be well organized, with good impressions. I hope we will see them on a regular basis from this point on.

The Soviet camp was privileged to host a WWII Red Army veteran, Colonel Nikolai Zaitsev, a charming gentleman who has dedicated his life to promoting peaceful relations between countries. Accompanying Colonel Zaitsev was a dance troup of young Russians who provided an exciting recital of Russian folk dances. We look forward to seeing them again next year.

As I noted before, the weather had been reasonably good, however by Saturday evening, it was obvious that a storm front was approaching. The National Weather Service also issued a tornado warning for the area. That was enough for us, so we packed up and headed home passing through heavy rains on the way. I found out later that the tornado did not materialize, thankfully and Sunday was again a fairly decent day. Nonetheless, it was nice to get home early from an event for a change.


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Comments (1)

Vishnevsky Mikhail

December 21st, 2016 at 1:58 am    

Well written, Jim! In MAAM’s infinite wisdom, they mentioned their disappointment with air show participants leaving early with the approach of the oncoming storm. Well bully on them!

We are not just reenactors but living historians with a lot of money tied up into displays that require even more time spent in research of, and the hours of special care taken for accurate portrayal at said event. Eastern front items are even harder to come by than most other impressions. Their only concern for themselves, per my perception, has soured “my impression” of them.

I am all too happy to present my display for the public and engage them in the pursuit of historical knowledge. I think the public is more aware and understanding of displays being removed from the field in light of inclement weather than MAAM considers “reasonable”.

I, for one, am reconsidering my participation in an event (at the very least, what I will display next year) for an organization whose only regard is for themselves. They neither compensate, nor accommodate anyone I am aware of for their participation; therefore, I feel it is unreasonable of them to place any demands upon the reenactors “restricting” them from leaving early, in light of inclement weather.

Thank you for the “soap box”. I hope this doesn’t prevent anyone from patronizing the event but brings to light the behind the scenes issues that go on with such events and the sacrifices many a historian willingly makes in sharing their passion for history and knowledge.

M A Vishnevsky, Medical Officer, Soviet Forces

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