When the ninth-annual Southwest Military Transport Show was initially scheduled for this coming weekend, it was done so specifically not to conflict with the annual Luke Air Force Base open house and air show – traditionally one of the largest such draws in the Southwest.
But with the announcement last week that the West Valley base would be cancelling its March air show this year due to budget constraints, events like Saturday’s Transport Show in Mesa have become all that more relevant to those who revel in all things military machinery.
Scheduled for Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Commemorative Air Force Museum at Falcon Field, this year’s show includes a convoy of more than 40 military vehicles – many restored to their original battlefield conditions; some are even down to the types of supply loads they carried during wars including Vietnam, Korea and World War II.
The family oriented event is sponsored by the Arizona Historical Military Transport Association, a group that preserves military vehicles and artifacts in honor of the sacrifices of men and women who have served in the U.S. military.
“We do it as a way of thanking them for their service,” AHMTA Vice President Dave Boehmer said.
He said the show is usually a large draw, bringing in families, other military vehicle enthusiasts and veterans looking to revisit the equipment they used during their military stints.
“People see these things in movies … but they don’t really get close to it and touch it and see what it’s like,” Boehmer said, “It’s always fun for me to see kids come and see even older people say ‘Wow, I didn’t realize these army jeeps were so small and cramped or I didn’t realize these big trucks were so huge.”
Boehmer, 49, of Gilbert, said he’s been a military vehicle enthusiast since childhood and began restoring jeeps and trucks with his brothers when he was still a kid.
“We kind of put ourselves through school doing jeeps and trucks and stuff, instead of working at Burger King and that worked out well, we did much better,” He said, chuckling.
Boehmer, who runs a worldwide engineering group at Intel, said he owns several vehicles one of his prized pieces his a World War II military jeep, the only vehicle in which people will actually be allowed to enter, sit and take pictures.
The nonprofit AHMTA has about 60 members, according to Boehmer, who display their vehicles at various veterans benefits, shows and parades, often shuttling veterans.
Aircraft from the CAF Museum will also be on display but will not be flying. But it could still be a great shot to get one’s military fix with the Luke show off the schedule.
“People won’t have (Luke) so it will be more of a draw for them,” Boehmer said.
The event also includes a swap meet where attendees can buy, sell or trade military artifacts and memorabilia.
AHMTA members range in age and military background. Boehmer is simply an enthusiast who has had several members of his family serve, and wants to thank them and others veterans for their service.
The event costs $10 for ages 12 and over, $9 for seniors, $3 for children ages 5-12 and children under 5 are free.
For more information about the event or AHMTA, visit www.AHMTA.com.
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