The Gateway Youth Aeronautical Foundation's F-4 Phantom cockpit exhibit was featured in the 18th Annual Veterans Day Parade held in Florissant November 7. The parade, organized by the St. Louis County Veterans Coalition, had a record number of 50 participants this year and was held in cooperation with local businesses who sponsored floats and opened their doors to those gathering along the parade route. The parade began at the Bangert Park parking lot, proceeded north on New Florissant Road and turned west on Rue Saint Francois past City Hall and on to VFW Post 4105. Following the parade, a veterans recognition ceremony was held to honor 2021 Veteran of the Year, U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran John Daab.
Here we show the cockpit being towed by Foundation Founder and President, Joe Steimann, following the first few floats in the parade. Accompanying him was GYAF member Lando Rivera and his family distributing candy along the parade route. We were honored to have two special crew members in the cockpit during the parade: Retired U.S. Air Force Captain Jack Beetz, who flew this model of Phantom, was in the front pilot seat wearing his flight gear; U.S. Army veteran, 2019 Veteran of the Year and current St. Louis County Police Sergeant Lewis Bouwman, was in the weapon systems officer seat. Following the parade, the cockpit was on display along with the Mann Meats food bus.