California Aeronautical University (CAU) and Olive Drab Drivers (ODD) of Bakersfield will host a WWII memorial plaque dedication on Monday, September 18, 2023 in remembrance of the 547th Night Fighter Squadron (NFS). The memorial will be held at the Meadows Field Airport terminal at 10:00 am.
Activated in March 1944 by the U.S. Army Air Forces, the 547th was one of the last purpose-activated night fighter squadrons of World War II. They received training using the Northrup P61 Black Widow at Meadows Field Airport (previously Kern County Airport) by the 481st Night Fighter Operational Training Group (NFOTG).
Most notably, the 547th “Black Widows” Squadron played a role in regaining the Philippines Islands during 1944-1946. On Jan 30, 1945, the Squadron provided crucial air support to suppress enemy forces at a prisoner of war camp in Cabanatuan, Philippines. Their heroic efforts resulted in the remarkable rescue of 511 American and Allied prisoners of war.
A WWII memorial plaque, for the 427th Fighter Squadron, was originally dedicated at the prior airport terminal in 1993. Now with CAU and ODD’s gracious work and support, this memorial plaque is finding a new home, next to the 547th Night Fighter Squadron’s memorial plaque, at the current terminal where it can be seen and honored for years to come by those who visit and travel through Meadows Field.
Immediately preceding the dedication ceremony, CAU will host an invite-only meet and greet with food and refreshments at the University’s dining facility adjacent to the airport terminal.
Miles Muzio, CAU instructor and Eyewitness News Chief Meteorologist, will serve as the emcee of the event.
Jeff Flores, Chairman of the Kern County Board of Supervisors, Ron Brewster, Director of Airports, and Lt Col. Jeremy Hirsch, 547th Squadron Commander from Nellis AFB, will serve as the event keynote speakers.
Kern County Fire Department will conduct a helicopter flyover to commemorate the memorial.
About California Aeronautical University
California Aeronautical University (CAU) is preparing the next generation of aviation professionals. Serving students from all over the country, the University offers career-focused programs in aviation, aviation business, and aircraft maintenance. With on-airport locations throughout California and in Arizona, CAU courses are delivered in a year-round, fast-paced schedule that enables students to enter the pipeline for aviation careers in a shorter amount of time. Through the University’s strong partnerships with airlines, influential aviation organizations, and leaders in the aviation community, CAU graduates become a part of a larger aviation network and reap the benefits of these relationships, including direct access to several airline cadet programs. The University offers financial aid, scholarships, and veteran educational benefits to those who qualify.