On July 8 1969, Major James E Sizemore and his navigator Major Howard V Andre were flying an A-26 Invaderas part of the 609th Special Operations Squadron in support of Special Forces working in Laos. They were shot down on a night mission and have been MIA for 43 years. Their aircraft and remains were found this year and Major Sizemore is now returning home to be buried by his family at Arlington National Cemetery.
You could say Major Sizemore has some pretty stalwart military aviation DNA in his body. His brother is RDAM Gene Sizemore USN (ret) (over 7,000 flight hours and more than 1,000 arrested landings in over a dozen navy aircraft from 1948 through his retirement in 1982) and nephew is RDAM Bill Sizemore USN (ret), (over 6,000 flight hours and mor ethan 1,000 arrested landings in fighters and strike-fighters, and just happened to be my boss at the CAOC in al Udeid in 2003).
Here's where things get interesting. Although Major Sizemore died in combat and has earned the right of a missing man formation, sequester cuts have forced the Air Force to be unable to provide fly-over services.
His son, James Sizemore, has arranged for flight of civilian aircraft, including an A-26 to fill the space in the sky where our military honors should have been.
The Warrior Flight Team of Warrior Aviation got to work and have arranged for a 8-ship fly over and the their Vandy 1 jet will be leading the missing man. All flight crew participating in the missing-man fly-over are USN,USMC and USAF Veterans themselves.
However, this comes at a cost. They are asking for donations to help cover the cost of $20,000 in fuel. Paypal donations can be made on the http://www.a-26legacy.org/ Scroll to the bottom and click the paypal button. On the confirmation page ADD SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE SELLER and indicate the funds are for the Warrior Flight Team flyover.
The A-26 Invader that will accompany the flyover is privately owned by George Lancaster with no affiliation to them)
Let's see if we can step up and help out the Warrior Aviation/A-26 Legacy team give a spectacular fly-by. Right now, 8 aircraft are in the mix for this honor. If you are in or around DC/Arlington at noon on 23 Sept, keep your ears and eyes open for both the roar of radial and turbofan jet engines.
Warrior Aviation can be found here. Good bunch, them boys...and girls!