It’s a multi-faceted convention full of symposiums, displays and an opportunity for those in the field to meet their counterparts.
“At Tail Hook we honor past warriors as well at those on active duty,” Jim “Guido” Dimatto said
Dimatto, a captain in the Naval Reserve, is the president of the 100th Anniversary Foundation, the educational arm of the group. He added the foundation helps future aviators and this year has awarded 70 scholarships to aspiring young people.
“We’ve used the centennial theme for events through the year starting in February at San Diego and ending this month in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
This year the annual air show at Oshkosh, Wisc., built this year’s theme around the centennial.
Also helping the foundation are Jack Roush, from NASCAR, as well as the father of the Mustang and Cobra, Carroll Shelby. They designed and built a one-off Mustang, in the colors of the Flying Blue Angels, for auction.
“The car was auctioned and the buyer donated its use for the celebration,” Dimatto said. “And it will be part of the Young Eagles display at this year’s Air Races.”
He added the convention, which ends today, appears to have a record attendance as several reunion groups are holding their meetings at the Nugget. One special guest, who arrived Saturday, is former aviator Sen. John McCain from Arizona.
Commenting on the hotel, Dimatto said, “Mr. Ascuaga is a huge fan of Naval Aviation and an incredible supporter. The attendance is huge as we pretty well sold out the entire hotel.”