28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs Division
7/15/2015 - ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- A
base B-1 bomber will fly over Main Street in Sturgis, S.D., at 3 p.m.,
Aug. 4 as part of the 15th Annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony.
The flyover will cap off an event formally recognizing four South Dakota
veterans - one each from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam War and
Gulf War - and their families for their service.
"The B-1 flyover is one of the iconic moments during the annual Sturgis
Motorcycle Rally," said Brenda Vasknetz, City of Sturgis Rally and
Events Department director. "While the flyover is one part of our annual
Military Appreciation Day, it is the highlight of the week for many
riders. It is not just 'any' flyover - it is part of a series of events
orchestrated to commemorate, recognize and show our appreciation for our
military, veterans and their families."
One of the veterans to be recognized is retired Lt. Col. George Swan, a
former B-1 weapon system officer who served 21 years and accrued 3,200
flying hours, including 400 combat hours in support of Operation
Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The three other veterans to be honored include former U.S. Army Pfc.
Paul Priest, 9th Armored Division, who served at the battle for the
Ludendorff Railway Bridge at Remagen over the Rhine River, retired Lt.
Col. Jerry Teachout, a pilot who served in all four wars during his
28-year career, and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Birnbaum, a combat
veteran who served in Vietnam and then joined the South Dakota Army
National Guard, becoming the fifth state command sergeant major of the
Vasknetz said the B-1 flyover is the culmination of the Minute of Silence on Main Street in Sturgis.
"During this minute, traffic stops, motorcycle engines are shut down,
people hug or pat the backs of those who have served, and the crowds are
silent," she said. "Main Street is 'frozen' as we reflect on the
freedoms that our military and its veterans have protected throughout
our nation's history."
Vasknetz added that having the B-1 flying over Main Street during the
military appreciation portion of the 75th Sturgis Rally will be a
powerful and exciting affirmation of the city's dedication and
appreciation for all those who have served and those currently defending
the freedoms we all hold dear.
"We could not be more excited," she said.