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Staff Sgt. Will Eaton, 30, of Santa Rosa, Calif., a gunner with the 352nd Special Operations Group, hangs on to the interior of a MH-53 Pave Low helicopter during a manuever Wednesday afternoon while the chopper was en route to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England. The museum is hosting an Air Show Saturday to celebrate the 60th birthday of the U.S. Air Force.

Staff Sgt. Will Eaton, 30, of Santa Rosa, Calif., a gunner with the 352nd Special Operations Group, hangs on to the interior of a MH-53 Pave Low helicopter during a manuever Wednesday afternoon while the chopper was en route to the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, England. The museum is hosting an Air Show Saturday to celebrate the 60th birthday of the U.S. Air Force. (Bryan Mitchell / S&S)

DUXFORD, England — A crew of special operations airmen took a brief break from their training routine Wednesday to help promote the upcoming American Air Day.

The air day is one of the first opportunities in several years for the American military in the United Kingdom to strut its stuff in the English skies, according to an Air Force organizer.

“Since Sept. 11, we’ve really not been able to showcase what we do and who we are,” 3rd Air Force Maj. Russ Davis said. “This event is a great opportunity to show off what we do, what we have and who we are. And it should be a lot of fun.”

Hosted by the Imperial War Museum in Duxford to celebrate the 60th birthday of the U.S. Air Force, the daylong event is slated for Saturday.

“This is the only event of its type in Europe to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force,” Imperial War Museum spokeswoman Tracey Woods said.

Several American aircraft will perform flyovers, including RAF Lakenheath-based F-15E fighter jets and HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopters, RAF Mildenhall-based KC-135 air refuelers, MH-53 Pave Low search and rescue helicopters, and MC-130 special operations aircraft.

The U.S. Air Forces in Europe rock band will perform, and military working dogs and other static military displays will be on hand.

The Imperial War Museum bills itself as the premier aviation museum in Europe and includes the American Air Museum, which boasts the only SR-71 Blackbird on display outside the United States.

Like at many other events at the Imperial War Museum, there will also be many vintage aircraft on display, including a B-17 Sally, a P-51 Mustang and the iconic Spitfire.

“It’s wonderful that a partnership and a special relationship that began 60 years ago is still as strong today,” Wood said.

Information Tickets and Tours offices will be selling discounted tickets for 10 pounds for visitors 16 and up each throughout the week at bases in England. Children under 16 are admitted free.


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