Purchase tickets to the airshow here.
Darcy Brewer and Col. Bob Martinelli from the California Capital Airshow met with Kitty O'Neal on Thursday for what she thought was going to be a normal interview. It was...except for the special announcement (see the video below).
They were in studio to ask her to be a part of this year’s event as Grand Marshall as a tribute to her father and his service to the country, as well as her family's deep military involvement.
Howard F. O'Neal, Kitty's dad, enlisted in the US Army Air Corps in 1944. Before long, he was a full-fledged member of the Air Force - serving across America, Europe and Asia before being selected to attend the Army War College in Pennsylvania in 1967. Shortly after graduation, O'Neal was stationed at the Pentagon in Washington D.C. as the Deputy Chief for Plans and Operations. He went on to get promoted to the rank of Colonel and become Chief of the Inter-service Group at the Pentagon.
The Colonel balanced his work and personal life well. He married Mary Lee Strickland and had two sons and a daughter.
In 1972, Howard was assigned to Mather Air Force Base in Sacramento and served as Base Commander. He as also the Base Commander at Hickam AFB in Hawaii and Utapao AFB in Thailand.
In 1978, Colonel O'Neal retired from the Air Force with decorations and awards including the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with eight Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and campaign medals from World War II and Vietnam.
He passed away in Sacramento in 2010 at age 84.
During his career, Colonel O'Neal was an instrumental part of the Mather Air Force Base team, and now, Kitty will be part of the airshow when it takes place there on Sept. 21, 22 and 23.
See Kitty's reaction below.
See the full interview below.