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2011 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show
Tora, Tora, Tora!
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Blast from the past: Tora, Tora, Tora! to perform explosive show

Posted 3/15/2011   Updated 3/16/2011 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Christopher Reel
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/15/2011 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The Commemorative Air Force will perform Tora, Tora, Tora!, a re-creation of the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor at the 2011 Gulf Coast Salute Open House and Air Show March 26 and 27 here.

Tora, Tora, Tora! is a live, action-filled performance intended to entertain and educate. It is an interactive history lesson about the event that launched the United States into World War II. Additionally, the show features smoke, fire and explosions created by the TORA pyrotechnics team. A professional announcer explains the purpose, history and performance to the crowd while the airplanes shoot across the sky and "bombs" explode.

Eleven pilots currently donate their time and resources to the living history museum.

"I enjoy volunteering for Tora, Tora, Tora!," said Jim Ryan, TORA pilot since 1987 and TORA Marketing and Air Show Productions director. "When I first started flying for TORA, there were a lot of WW II veterans involved, but there aren't any more."

During the attack, Japanese naval aviators flew 328 combat-ready Zeros against American forces at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines. The Zero totally outclassed all Allied fighter aircraft for the first six months of the war until American carrier forces stopped the Japanese in the Coral Sea and at Midway in May and June 1942.

"It's important to tell the story of that day and remember that our freedoms are only one generation away from being lost," Ryan added.

In 1972, six replica Japanese aircraft used in the movie "Tora, Tora, Tora!" were donated to the CAF, a foundation created to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of historical combat aircraft flown by all branches of military service. They began developing an act with the planes as a presentation at air shows across the country. The show made its debut at the Galveston Air Show June 25, 1972.

"The original aircraft from the movie are still in use today and will perform their act this year at Tyndall's air show," said Ken Crites, narrator of the show since 1993. "The main part of the program is remembering the men and women on that day, as well as a celebration for the men and women that serve our country today."

The TORA group participates in approximately 12 to 16 air shows each year, with eight to ten TORA aircraft participating in each show. During the performance, spectators can expect to see approximately 61 pyrotechnic effects. A 20 to 26 volunteer team is needed for air and ground coordination.

"During the show the audience will hear the story of what our troops were faced with on Dec. 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked," said Crites. "The crowd will experience history. They will be able to witness the sights and sounds much like the ones that occurred on that day."

For more information about TORA, visit: www.toratoratora.com.

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