Special Guests and Speakers

The following roster of our scheduled Special Guests and Speakers is updated as guests are confirmed. Each Guest is scheduled to appear on the days noted in their details. WWII Weekend Special Guest speakers’ schedules are posted at each speaker’s venue at the show. At other times, many of these veterans will be available to meet and sign autographs at tables in the main hangar. Autograph fees may be charged by the Special Guest. 

Appearing all 3 days

Battle of the Bulge, Ardennes Forest, Hurtgen Forest, Remagen, Security at Dachau Concentration Camp (post-war)

European Theater of Operations

Andrew Valero

Sergeant

9th Infantry Division

71st Infantry Division

Appearing all 3 days

Served as Squadron Supply Clerk

Stateside Operations

Thomas W. Newton

Sergeant

99th Fighter Squadron

332nd Fighter Group

U.S. Army Air Corps

Appearing Friday and Saturday

Served on Iwo Jima and Okinawa

Shooting down Kamikaze Planes

Pacific Theater of Operations

Edward Conrad

Coxswain

U.S. Navy Seabee

Appearing Friday and Saturday

Served on Okinawa

2 Purple Hearts

Pacific Theater of Operations

Walter LaSota

6th Marine Division

22nd Marine Regiment, Co.

Private First Class

Appearing All 3 Days

B-25 Radioman/Tail Gunner

38 Combat Missions and 27 Non-Combat Missions

Pacific Theater of Operations

Quentin Stambaugh

TSgt

345th Bomb Group

5th Air Force

Appearing Saturday

B-17 Pilot/Lead Crew

Distinguished Flying Cross

25 Missions over Europe

European Theater of Operations

Ray Firmani

1Lt USAAF

835th Squadron

486th Bomb Group

8th Air Force

Appearing Saturday  

Awarded Two Bronze Stars

Battle of the Bulge, Siegfried Line and Leipzig

European Theater of Operations

John M. Fleming

SSgt. USA, 271st Regt.

69th Div., 2nd Army

Combat Infantryman, Mechanic

Appearing Saturday  

Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations

Victor Friscia

Gunner’s Mate 1st Class

USN, USS LST-341

Appearing Friday      

B-17 and B-24 Mechanic in Foggia, Italy

European Theater of Operations

George Focht, Jr.

Sergeant, USA

49th Bomb Sqdn

2nd Bomb Group

15th Air Force

    Appearing Saturday and Sunday   

Launched Amphibious Assaults, Combated Kamikaze Attacks, Invasions of Lingayen Gulf and Okinawa

Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations

Arthur Grabiner

Yeoman 2nd Class, USN

USS Laurens (APA-153)

  Appearing Saturday   

Crewmember on General MacArthur’s Command Ship

Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations

Chuck Kline

BM3, USN

USS Wasatch (AGC-9)

     Appearing All 3 Days     

Responsible for Preparation of Information Required for Bombing Missions

Asiatic-Pacific Theater of Operations

Norris Jernigan

Corporal, USAAF

393rd Bomb Sqdn.

(VH) 509th Composite Grp.

   Appearing Sunday    

Landed at Normandy on D-Day +22

Battle of the Bulge Veteran

European Theater of Operations

Ben Berry

Corporal (Tech 5), USA

78th Quartermaster Bn.

3rd Army

     Appearing Saturday    

20mm Gunner on a Fletcher Class Destroyer with 16 Battle Stars

Awarded the Silver Star for Shooting Down a Kamikaze Before it Could Hit His Ship

Pacific Theater of Operations

Edward Czechowski

Coxswain, USN

USS Safely (DD465)

     Appearing Saturday      

Manufactured Parts for Aircraft and Other Weapons

Home Front

Dorothy Trate

“Rosie the Riveter”

Punch Press Operator

   Appearing All 3 Days    

Born in Germany in 1934, at Age 9, he Became a Member of the “Deutsches Jungvolk” (DJ) a Hitler Youth Group Mandatory for Boys Aged 10-14

Hermann Pfisterer

Deutsches Jungvolk

    Guest Speakers

Jim Belcher Jr teaches and speaks frequently at DOD and veterans’ events, public & private schools, universities and defense contractor facilities. He has authored numerous magazine articles, a book chapter, hosted a newspaper column and appeared in international history documentaries, YouTube videos, radio and news stories.  

Jim was a duel citizen at birth, born at Yokosuka Naval Hospital, Japan.  His father, who passed away in 2001, was one of 1195 men on the final voyage of the famous but ill-fated WWII heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis.  Jim’s mother, is a WWII survivor and war bride, his grandfather a Nagasaki bomb survivor and uncle a sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army. Jim is the only Japanese-born son of a USS Indianapolis Survivor.

Speaking all 3 days

John Cappello, Halyard Mission Foundation

The goal of the Foundation is to educate, commemorate, and increase awareness of the Halyard Mission, the rescue of over 500 US airmen during WWII, and the role the Serbs played in the success of the mission. 

Speaking all 3 days

Mitch Topal has received numerous state and national communications awards for writing, graphic design, and media work. He currently serves as President of the Delaware Press Association and full-time Public Affairs Chief at the 166th Airlift Wing, USAF. Inspired by relatives who served in the US military, including his father, stepfather, and father-in-law, Mitch has long been a student of World War II history. ‘Against All Odds: The Ray Firmani Story’ is his first book. His second book, ‘Father, I am Still Alive’ is about Warner Schlaupitz (deceased 3/2/2024), a decorated WWII infantryman who fought in the PTO. Mitch will discuss writing about WWII combat veterans, Ray Firmani and WWII Army Air Corps losses in training and combat.

Speaking Friday and Saturday

Ritchie History Museum

The Ritchie History Museum educates its visitors about the long history of Camp and Fort Ritchie, including the efforts of the Ritchie Boys and the role they played in defeating Hitler and Nazism. 

Jim Klein, will speak about his father, who was a Camp Ritchie-trained intelligence officer. He interrogated Erich Kempka, Adolf Hitler’s chauffeur, shortly after Hitler’s suicide. He also interacted with Oskar Schindler, and debriefed Ernest Hemingway, who had captured some German soldiers. 

Speaking Sunday

Libby Hellmann, Who are the Ritchie Boys and why should you know about them? Author Libby Fischer Hellmann will answer those questions and more. Her latest novel, Max’s War, is a historically accurate account of these little known American soldiers who fought the Nazis during World War Two. From their selection to their training to their contributions during the War, Hellmann tells their story from the perspective of a young man who experienced it all. Don’t miss this riveting presentation.

Speaking Saturday and Sunday

IN MEMORY OF OUR SPECIAL GUESTS WHO HAVE ANSWERED THE LAST BUGLE CALL IN THE PAST YEAR

James ‘Ace’ Gallagher, Jr.

6/1/25-5/24/2023

Navy Night Torpedo Squadron

USS Bon Homme Richard

Aviation Ordinance 3rd Class

Hank Kudzik

1925-5/11/2024

Chief Petty Officer

Submariner

USS Nautilus and USS Gar

Richard “Dick” Schimmel

1923-2/3/2024

SSgt, USA, Radio Operator

580th Signal Aircraft Warning Company

Pearl Harbor Survivor

Robert Thompson

10/17/1924-12/27/2023

SSgt. USA, Co. A

23rd Infantry Regt

2nd Infantry Division

Combat Infantryman

Normandy, Brittany, and Ardennes Campaigns

POW at Stalags in Hammelburg, Nuremberg and Moosburg

Bertram Winzer

9/17/1922-10/24/2023

1st Special Service Force

101st Airborne Division

Aleutian Islands Campaign, Naples-Foggia Italy, Rome-Arno, Southern France, and Rhineland

Awarded Purple Heart

Victor Marulli

12/1/1925 – 9/29/2023

Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class, USN, Underwater Demolition Team #3 (UDT-3)

Bell Diver/ Combat Swimmer/ Frogman (forerunner of US Navy Seals)

Guam, Phillippines, Japan

Richard Deverter

6/1926-9/28/2023

PFC, USA, 4th Battalion, 49th Armored Infantry Regiment, 8th Armored Division, 3rd Army

Half Track Driver

Fought in France, Holland, and Czechoslovakia and helped liberate two concentration camps. 

Frank McCullough

11/12/1924-7/23/2023

Tech Sgt. USAAF, 391st Bomb Sqdn., 34th Bombardment Group, 8th AF

B-17 Engineer/ Top Turret Gunner

34 Missions over Europe

Distinguished Flying Cross

Ralph Foulks

10/24/1924-7/11/2023

United States Navy

USS Hornet

SB2C Helldiver Radio Op/Gunner

Distinguished Flying Cross

If you are interested in being a Special Guest at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum’s World War II Weekend next year, please contact the museum via email, no later than October 1st for consideration at the following June event. Special Guests are considered for autographs, book or print signings, and as speakers regarding their military or War effort experiences. 

WWII Weekend Special Guests and WWII Aircraft are scheduled to attend in the best of faith by all parties. Unfortunately, last minute health concerns, weather factors, and other unexpected issues may prevent attendance. Scheduled times and venues are subject to change because of these possibilities. We apologize should this occur, however we offer no refunds or reductions.