Belgian Air Force Demo Team 2012
   Text: Serge Van Heertum  &  Pictures : Serge Van Heertum & Luc Dujardin © sbap 2012
(Serge Van Heertum) (Luc Dujardin)

Fifty five years ago, the Belgian national team officially took the name "Red Devils". This happened at Chièvres airbase, where the 7th Wing of the Belgian Air Force  was based, under the leadership of its first chief, Major Robert "Bobby" Bladt.
October 30th, Fifty five years later, a memorial meeting was held in order to gather as much old team members as possible.
The starting point of this idea to commemorate the team anniversary originated in the mind of Daniel Leleu, dynamic president of the International Museum of Chièvres air base. When he saw the team taking back service on Siai Marchetti SF.260, this idea took shape. Having launched the organization of the "Devil Meet" soon, the organizer received the support of the American military base. Thus on October 30st, devils were present!
The day of this real friendly ceremony, some speeches were given. Starting with the one by Mrs. Marylise Baneton, Communications Manager of the base. After she welcomed the guests who could make the trip, she gave a brief history of the base whose past is full of events, while emphasis was put especially on the birth of the team, the future ambassador of the Air Force and Belgium.
Then came the actual godfather and first leader of the team on Fouga Magister in 1965, Jacques "Red" Dewaelheyns. After an historic overview of the team during the Hawker Hunter period, the starting point of the "Reds", “Red” shared some anecdotes of the beginning of the Fouga periods, and the difficulties encountered to fly the Fouga in formation. Sometimes funny, sometimes moving, "Red" painted a living picture of this period which struck a crowd of fans with the sound of the "Marboré" engine.
Then came the speech of the Commander Alain "Papy" Collard, current leader who, after the presentation of his faithful wingmen, explained the current version of the team and the way they work, to offer a spectacle. But, this remains no less as a constant commitment to achieve the perfection while maintaining security. After delivering some gifts to American military guests, it was time to revisit those memories with a glass in hand, and a smile. That meeting was a great moment for me, meeting such prestigious pilots was very humbling. I still remember vividly seeing them at work in my younger years! In a few words, what a lot of emotions when the past resurfaces...
The time had then come for the "Red Devils" to take their machine and get back to the base of Beauvechain. It’s under a cold and bright sun of October that the "Reds" started and left the apron direction holding point. A small magneto problem for the ST27did cause some overtime at Chièvres. The three others gratified the assembly with some passes to say goodbye. This ended this meeting, with the rumble of the Devils.
With a few lines and a gorgeous pictorial overview, we would like to thank Mr. Daniel Leleu for his kind invitation, Mrs. Marylise Baneton and her team for this wonderful reception where small dishes were placed in large one, as well as American base authorities without which this meeting between the past and present would perhaps never been held. Thank you to the "Devils" who responded to the call, living witnesses of the glorious past of the "Red Devils". A final word to emphasize the commitment of Mr. Leleu and his team to relive the history of the base in their museum which unfortunately is currently closed for building renovations. But their tenacity will certainly lead the way to success, I'm sure.

Firebrigade truck (Serge Van Heertum) De-icing truck (Serge Van Heertum)
One of the two "Blackhawk" based at Chievres air base (Serge Van Heertum) This is a transport version used by the SHAPE authorities (Serge Van Heertum)
This Devils meet was an idea of the dynamic Chievres air base museum (Luc Dujardin)
Herman Devos & Leo Lambermont (Serge Van Heertum) Jan Franssen & Bill Scruel (Serge Van Heertum)
Daniel Leleu (Museum president) & "Red" Dewaelheyns (Serge Van Heertum) Jean Breuls de Tiecken (Serge Van Heertum)
Jean-Luc Herijgers (Serge Van Heertum) Some speech to honour the Devils (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) August Janssens (Luc Dujardin)
Mrs Marylise Baneton communication responsible (Serge Van Heertum) "Red" memories...a great moment (Serge Van Heertum)
The 2012 "Red Devils" arriving at Chièvres (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
The past and the present (Serge Van Heertum) "Mag" and the Belgian authorities of the base (Serge Van Heertum)
Autograph's (Serge Van Heertum) Mrs Van Essche, widow of Paul Van Essche (Serge Van Heertum)
Familial and convivial moments (Luc Dujardin) "Papy" talking with the "Blackhawk" pilot (Luc Dujardin)

(Serge Van Heertum)

"Papy" speech (Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)
Souvenir to the US base commander of Chièvres (Serge Van Heertum) and to the Squadron commander (Serge Van Heertum)
The "Red Devils" of the past : (from left to right)
Jean-Luc "Yogi" Storder,Jean Breuls de Tiecken, Charly Hubert, Jean-Pierre "Bill" Scruel, Guy Lambermont, Leo Lambermont,
Jacques "Red" Dewaelheyns, August "Gus" Janssens, Herman Devos, Jean-Luc Herijgers and Jan Franssen.  (Serge Van Heertum)
Arrival of the planes later in the day when the fog had desapear
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum)
(Luc Dujardin) General of Brigade Patrice Laurent welcomed by the Belgian authorities of the base (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) A visit to the actual "Red Planes" (Serge Van Heertum)
Former ambassadors (Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
(Serge Van Heertum) "Papy" and Jean Breuls de Tiecken for posterity (Luc Dujardin)
Another way to admire the "Reds" (Luc Dujardin) Start up to go back heading Beauvechain (Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)

(Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) "Mas" back to the parking with a little magneto problem (Serge Van Heertum)
(Serge Van Heertum) A last tribute to the old "Red Devils" (Luc Dujardin)
Artistic view of the day
(Luc Dujardin)

Red in Black and White ! (Luc Dujardin)
(Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
(Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
(Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
National colours (Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)


(Serge Van Heertum) (Luc Dujardin)
Line and curve (Luc Dujardin) (Luc Dujardin)
Chièvres air base history
A wonderfull overview in 13 panels realized by Mister Devos

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