WWII reenactment weekend in Crestview honors Doolittle Raid

CRESTVIEW – The heroic and daring April 18, 1942 Doolittle Raid on Tokyo was the centerpiece of – and the inspiration for – “Hail Our Heroes,” a three-day WWII reenactment weekend scheduled for the 22 to April 24, 2022, in Twin Hills Park flagship park in Crestview.

“After the success of our 75th anniversary celebration of D-Day in 2019 and our celebration of the 75th anniversary of WWII Victory last year, we are getting as brave as Colonel Doolittle and his Raiders and going big.” , said Mayor JB Whitten. “The educational value of this will be incredible. It is our biggest WWII event to date.

“Hail Our Heroes” is one of the first events of the city’s new Cultural Services Division. Since the beginning of spring, its organizers have been thinking about a lively and rewarding program of activities that will appeal to families, children, teens, veterans, WWII buffs, history buffs and all others.

“We have a fascinating array of interested reenactors coming,” said Dako Morfey, events advisor and member of the Living History Corps certified by the National WWII Museum. “Visitors will have the opportunity to see equipment and vehicles from both sides of the war, meet reenactors, and learn about their weapons and equipment.”

These groups will set up bivouacs (encampments) around the eastern pond of Twin Hills Park, where they will live as WWII soldiers lived on the ground.

Morfey, a military and historical events coordinator who advised Whitten on the town’s 20th anniversary 9/11 events, organized a field camp for Luftwaffe paratroopers during the WWII Victory event of the last year at Crestview. During the April 2022 event, he said, visitors will find ongoing activities throughout the weekend, “and everything is absolutely free.”

The Cultural Services Division works in partnership with the Robert LF Sikes Educational Center at Northwest Florida State College. The Old Crestview Library will serve as an “occupied French castle” which will be “liberated” by Allied Reconstitution Forces on several occasions over the weekend.

“For the interior of the atrium, we’re inviting a living history group that specializes in portraying German soldiers in the field,” Morfey said. “When the castle is not vacated, people can examine WWII era radios, field phones, and other communications equipment.”

During the weekend, most of the facilities in eastern Twin Hills Park will remain open to the public, including the restrooms and the walking path around the pond, which will become a historic ‘WWII Milestones’ walk. with historic notice boards installed along the way.

Activities and exhibitors currently under consideration for the weekend include:

• A tent in the “Command Post” reception center where visitors can receive maps, event programs, information and periodic “briefings” offered on WWII topics by the History Faculty of the NWFSC

• Event “passports” in which visitors can receive stamps from various camps and exhibitions

• A display of wartime medical equipment in a field hospital

• A canteen or a mess offering contemporary cuisine

• A vehicle repair station for an American military transport battalion

• Possible overflights by planes of the Second World War

• A collection of WWII vehicles

• A free USO-style public victory dance with a 15-piece big band on April 23

• Meet actors representing both sides of the conflict and discuss WWII tactics, equipment and history; learn more about the recreation hobby; examine weapons and equipment; and, with permission, try on uniform parts such as helmets

• War-era music, vintage radio announcements and commercials broadcast daily

• Newsreels about WWII and period documentaries screened in the cinema tent

• An exhibition of WWII film posters and books from which WWII films were made at the Crestview Public Library in April

• An ecumenical field service taken directly from a WWII chaplain’s manual, with music from the WWII United States Army and Navy hymn played on a country pump organ.

“It will be an amazing weekend,” said Morfey. “I have helped coordinate and have participated in many reenactments across the country, but the enthusiastic support we have received from the Town of Crestview is going to ensure one of the best and most educational events I have ever had. have never seen them. “

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