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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Page 13

Talk Of The Town


Goodbye, Mr Mathis

The B-17 gets ready for takeoff at Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum. Photograph by Jack Fichter

High Times SHE sat there with her silvery skin, inviting to fly us down to Rio — that is Rio Grande, New Jersey. She promised an adventure in the air and we bit. We’ll never regret it either. The Yankee Lady, a 1946, B-17 bomber equipped with turrets and 13 guns paid a visit to Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum June 10-12. Foul weather kept her on the ground for the first day of her visit. An oil leak in engine number one allowed her only one flight during her stay, and luckily we were aboard. Her crew, with help from NASW’s tools, lift and volunteers sent the B-17 to her next destination after two days of repairs with a

part shipped from Arkansas. A plane breaking down at NASW was a first, said Dr Joe Salvatore, Chairman and Executive Director of the museum. “This was the right place to do the repair,” said Salvatore, noting NASW was originally built as an aircraft repair facility during World War II. “We have all the equipment.” The B-17 is a four-engine bomber that helped win World War II. She was not set up for the comfort of her occupants. She sat on the taxiway at the county airport and shook as her engines revved to high RPM. Our seat was made of canvas and the seat belt was complicated enough to trap us in the seat for a few minutes after takeoff.

Crew Chief Norm Ellickson briefed passengers before boarding the plane. He told us we only needed to stay in our seats during takeoff and landing. We roamed to the glass nose used by a gunner, stood beside the bomb bay doors and walked into the cockpit standing behind the pilots. The plane had three pilots on board including twin brothers Jon and Jeff Rule who have flown commercial jets for more than 40 years. Another pilot, Duane Nelson, was at the controls while Jeff Rule talked to the passengers on this flight. Taking off from the county airport made us feel as if we were back in World War II and

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OUR condolences go to the family, friends, colleagues and students of the late Paul Mathis, who for more than 30 years was an English teacher at Lower Cape May Regional High School, and also director of the school’s flourishing theater program. Mr Mathis had been ill for some time, prompting students, faculty and alumni to organize The Concert for Mr Mathis, a benefit at the school on July 13. Headlining the benefit concert will be Army of Freshmen, a Califoria-based rock band that was formed by LCMR graduate Chris Jay. Army of Freshmen have performed over 1,500 shows in 15 countries and 43 states, have been heard and seen in several films and TV shows and recently released their fifth full-length record. The bill also includes LCMR alumni Adam McDonough, a singer-songwriter now based in the New York City area, as well as Stellar Mojo, the popular South Jersey band that features LCMR alumni, and Old School, an allteacher band featuring some of Mr Mathis’ closest friends. The night will also feature a guest appearance by Jeff Coon, an LCMR graduate who has gone onto fame in the world of theater and first worked under Mr Mathis in several high school musicals. For tickets and more information, contact Mr J’s Music Shop at 609-886-4646. Proceeds will benefit the Mathis family and the Love of Linda Fund.

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