Display

AirVenture Oshkosh: A family event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Chad Padgett
  • 436th AW Public Affairs
Every year Cathy and Roger Tener attend the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture Oshkosh, one of the nation's largest Air Shows. The Teners help out with the Warbirds exhibit, which supports the upkeep of antique military aircraft flying.

This year they received an unexpected text message 'did you see me wave?' as a Dover C-5M Super Galaxy, The Spirit of Normandy, arrived with their son Staff Sgt. Matt Tener, 9th Airlift Squadron.

"My husband and I volunteer with the Warbirds all week long at Oshkosh," said Mrs. Tener. "We were told that there was going to be a C-5, but then we saw the C-17 and thought people made a mistake and the C-5 wasn't going to be here. Then, here comes the C-5 and we rushed over to the Warbirds tower and watched the C-5 start to land. Then I got the text message from my son Matt asking if I saw him wave."

While Sergeant Tener knew he would be going to the air show well in advance, keeping it a secret from his family proved to be difficult.

"It wasn't easy keeping my visit a surprise," said Sergeant Tener. "Fortunately, they went up a week before the show to meet with friends and assist in the airshow setup. That way, I wasn't worried about the press release or one of my brothers ruining the surprise. I was very tempted to spill the news while home on leave, but I figured there aren't many opportunities to showcase the C-5M in this manner and especially to totally surprise my folks. I let a few folks know, like my wife and my in-laws, but the way aviation people talk, I couldn't risk it."

Once the plane landed, Mrs. Tener was one of the first ones lined up to see the crew.

"I was able to give her a proper tour as well as introduce her to members of the crew," said Sergeant Tener. "After we closed up the aircraft, I spent the night in a tent next to theirs in the camping area. I was on the first shift of the static display on Saturday morning, but was able to spend time with them and see old friends until we prepared the aircraft for departure."

For Sergeant Tener, this was not his first trip to EAA AirVenture, but it could possibly be his most memorable.

"I have made many friends since I first started going to Oshkosh over a decade ago," said Sergeant Tener. "The opportunity to speak to so many people interested in the C-5 and genuinely excited to hear about what we do was incredible. To hear how much everyone appreciates what we do as military members really meant a lot. We think of what we do as 'just another day at the office,' but when you're able to explain it to folks, to them it's unbelievable.

It's a very unique thing to be able to take the C-5 to Oshkosh and really showcase what our airplane can do as well as what the Air Force as a whole does for the United States and the world. I consider this trip to truly mark one of the highlights of my career that I will never forget."