Donald Obreiter, Commemorative Air Force

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jennifer Seidl
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
Donald Obreiter works on Altus Air Force Base in the 97th Maintenance Directorate -- most of the time.

When he's not there, he's still working on aircraft; aircraft too old, broken or outdated to keep flying, but these are aircraft that represent a vital part of our Air Force history. Donald Obreiter is one of four Team Altus members who are part of the Commemorative Air Force.

"Me personally, have been volunteering with them since 2003. The CAF has a fleet of about 140-plus aircraft that are broken up into various support squadrons across the country," said Mr. Obreiter. "I began by volunteering aircraft maintenance skills to help squadrons in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. I soon got involved maintaining the CAF's B-24 Liberator and B-29 Superfortress. A year later I became a qualified flight engineer for these planes."

According to their Web site, the CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans. More than just a collection of airworthy warplanes from the past, the CAF's fleet of historic aircraft, known as the CAF Ghost Squadron, recreate, remind and reinforce the lessons learned from the defining moments in American military aviation history.

"For the last four years I've been the B-29 and B-24 Squadron Maintenance Officer. I oversee, manage, and schedule all the maintenance actions for both planes. It ranges from routine tasks, Federal Aviation Administration paperwork, restoration projects, to going out on the road to fix the planes if needed." said Mr. Obreiter.

"I've had the opportunity to fly these planes from New York to Nellis Air Force Base and everywhere in between performing show, ride flights, and static displays," he said.

Fortunately for Mr. Obreiter, this week he can stay in town; Altus AFB is hosting the Commemorative Air Force as part of the Air Show and Open House May 2.

Mr. Obreiter invests a great deal of time and effort to keep our Air Force heritage alive and moving.. "It's a lot of work, but extremely rewarding. Hearing the veterans' stories and memories, having all the Rosie the Riveters explain how they built the machines, and offering families the opportunity to see one of the machines their father, grandfather, or great grandfather flew during the war is indescribable. Being involved and helping to keep one of only two Liberators left flying and the World's only flying B-29 in the air is definitely a worthwhile cause for future generations to see and to preserve a huge part of our Greatest Generation."

Although he loves to pass history on to others, Mr. Obreiter has a personal stake in his investment as well. "I remember my dad taking me to see the CAF's B-29 and B-24 when I was a little kid. It was because of the excitement these exact two planes stirred in me that caused me to join the U.S. Air Force; now it's my turn to give back to them," he said

If you're interested in learning more about how to get involved with preserving our United States Air Force history, contact the CAF at or stop by while you're enjoying the Altus AFB Open House and Air Show.