49th Annual Torrance Armed Forces Day Celebration Draws Thousands
By Peggy Hodge, SMC Public Affairs
/ Published May 22, 2008
Los Angeles Air Force Base -- The 49th Annual Torrance Armed Forces Day celebration drew 65,000 people from May 16-18. Our Air Force representative this year was Brig. Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Center.
"The parade was very smooth this year," said Dave Crespin, public information officer for the Torrance Police Department. "This is a great community event. You can see it on the smiles of everyone's face."
This year the Marine Corps was the lead service, so the Grand Marshal was Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, commanding general, Marine Corps Installations West, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Highlights of the parade included flyovers of a formation of four World War II era open-cockpit trainer biplanes from Zamperini Field, Torrance, Calif., a U.S. Army Blackhawk (UH-60) from Fort Irwin, Calif., a U.S. Marine Corps F-18C from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, San Diego, Calif., and an HH-65 Charley (Dolphin) from the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles.
"The flyovers are always the crowd favorite and this year was no exception," said Lt. Tom Stark, Torrance Police Department, Traffic and Special Events Division. "The Torrance Community truly supports its military and enjoys honoring the men and women of the Armed Forces at this event," he said.
Other participating parade entries included the Los Angeles Air Force Base Honor Guard; marching troops from Los Angeles, Edwards and Vandenberg Air Force bases; San Pedro High School Air Force JROTC; and the U.S. Air Force Civil Air Patrol Squadron 153.
Displays inside and outside the Del Amo Mall, concerts by the 1st Marine Division Band, and a reveille ceremony were also part of the celebration. The 369th Recruiting Squadron and Air Force Reserves pumped up the crowds with the F-22 mini jet and a decked-out trailer and truck. Exhibits inside the mall from Los Angeles AFB included Air Force Space Command, the Global Positioning Systems Wing, the Military Satellite Communications Systems Wing, the Space Based Infrared Systems Wing, and the Launch and Range Systems Wing.