This is our fourth day in Harlingen. Tomorrow we say goodbye and head to Mexico. I have to say that I am ready to go. If it weren’t for the problems we’ve had on this trip, Harlingen would be a somewhat boring place. To Harlingen’s credit, and you may not know this, it was once home for the Confederate Air Force. You heard me right. The Confederate Air Force. Although not incorporated until 1961, it all began in 1957 with a group of ex-service pilots who purchased and restored a P-51 Mustang.
The CAF is no longer located in Harlingen. It was moved to Midland, TX in the 90’s and in 2002 the name was changed to the more “politically correct”, Commemorative Air Force. The CAF is comprised of about 160 restored WWII–era aircraft. My personal favorite is the B-17 bomber. Out of 12,731 built, mostly from mid-1942 to mid-1945, there are only 15 of these Flying Fortresses still airworthy. Two of them, Sentimental Journey and Texas Raiders, are flown by the CAF. I was able to go inside and look around one at an air show a couple of years or so ago. The next time you see an air show advertised in your area, check to see if one of the CAF planes will be there. You can actually take a ride in one for a small fee.
Of course we all know that there wasn’t really a Confederate Air Force during the “War of Northern Aggression”, but if there had been a Confederate Air Force back then, one thing I know for sure, people in Maine would be eating grits and whistling Dixie right now!