PIX11 investigation finds that patriotism doesn’t fly with clothing vendors at air shows

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NEW YORK — For many there is nothing that can be more patriotic than an air show, especially if the main attraction are the precision jet teams of the the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds or the U.S. Navy Blue Angels.

As Korean War veteran Arte Baldwin conveyed to PIX 11 News,”You don’t find any of them planes made in China?”

Meanwhile another fan at a recent air show told PIX 11 News the following regarding the Thunderbirds.

“The red, white and blue on them. The red, white and blue in the air. It’s the ultimate American thing.”

While the fighter jets may be the symbol of American engineering at its finest, the merchandise that showcases the iconic images of these two high performance teams in anything but.  In recent months, PIX11 News attended air shows at Jones Beach as well as Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

While thousands were mesmerized with they saw in the skies, we set our sights on the merchandise tents on the ground.  What PIX11 News discovered was clothing, specifically shirts and hats made in the Caribbean, Central America, and China, all being sold by vendors who were provided with licenses from the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy.

Additionally, we did not come across any vendors with clothing merchandise that was made in the U.S. A.

Ben Jeffries a former U.S. Army specialist in Saudi Arabia summed it all up in four words, “Despicable it really is.”

Jeffries was not alone. Click on the box to watch the entire feature and see who else weighed-in, including a member of the Congressional Subcommittee of Commerce that focuses on Manufacture and Trade, on the practice that left many shaking their heads.

As Michelle Megela, a mother of an enlisted Marine shared with PIX 11 News moments after she realized the shirt she purchased for her young son was made in Haiti.

“I would rather put my money into something that is going to benefit the men and women working hard in the United States,” said Megela.

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