Today, seven Palm Springs Air Museum aircraft will do a fly over the Coachella Valley and the High Desert in honor to local First Responders on the Twentieth Anniversary of the 9/11 attack that claimed 2,977 lives.
The aircraft will carry flags honoring local service personnel and the Gold Star families lost as a result of the Global War on Terrorism – an ongoing international military campaign launched by the United States government following the September 11 attacks: A 2019 Brown University study places the number of direct deaths caused by the War on Terror at over 800,000 when Syria and Yemen are included. It is estimated that 6,951 service members and 7,730 U.S. contractors have lost their lives over the span of the conflict.
The names of local service members lost:
- Marine Cpl Jesus A. Gonzalez of Indio, CA, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, 29 Palms, CA – KIA April 12, 2003 in Baghdad, Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom
- Marine 1st Lt. Joshua M. Palmer of Banning, CA, 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Pendleton, CA – KIA April 8, 2004 in Anbar Province, Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom
- US Air Force Staff Sgt Jennifer Kepner, of Cathedral City, died Oct 18, 2017 from cancer as a result of exposure to Burn Pits at Camp Balad Air Base in Iraq. She served as a medic from 2001-2007 and spent 6 months at Camp Balad
- US Army Pfc Ming Sun, of Cathedral City, 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Carlson, CO, KIA January 7, 2007, Ramadi, Iraq – Operation Iraqi Freedom
- US Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Suresh Krause, of Cathedral City, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, KIA August 16, 2012, Kandahar Province, Iraq, Operation Enduring Freedom
- Marine Cpl Hunter Lopez of Indio, KIA, August 26, 2021, Kabul Airport, Afghanistan
The fly over will start approximately at 9:45 am. First locale will be Palm Springs Fire Station 2, in honor of their special 9-11 Memorial Service. From there, the fleet of aircraft will include 27 local city and county fire stations in the Coachella Valley and high desert, including the 29 Palms Marine Base. The length of time in the air will be approximately 40 minutes. From Palm Springs, the aircraft will fly east over Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Rancho Mirage (County Fire Department), Indian Wells, La Quinta, Indio, Bermuda Dunes, Thousand Palms, Morongo Valley, and San Bernardino County Fire Stations, ending at 29 Palms.
Notable aircraft participating are the P-63 King Cobra, two P-51 Mustangs, C-47 Sky Train, and the T-6 Texan. *
The Palm Springs Air Museum is an educational non-profit history and aviation museum, dedicated to educating future generations, honoring our veterans, and preserving our aviation history.
Open daily from 10 until 5, it is located at 745 N. Gene Autry Trail, Palm Springs, CA 92262, the main phone number is 760-778-6262. Visit PSAirMuseum.org for more info. The current special promotion includes free admission for children 12 and under accompanied by a paying adult. Masks are required at this time (available on site) as per Palm Springs City Covid guidelines.
*Aircraft and exact route are subject to mechanical issues and the weather, especially smoke from the fires.