16 Sep 2012--Left Pennsylvania for Ohio on Friday morning and arrived here at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton Friday evening. (I fear the lack of response to our reenactment of the Gettysburg Battle or especially our Amish venture indicates that Ohio could be a total dud for the viewing public, but I press on hopefully! haha)
On Saturday, we were initially trapped in the RV park because the annual Air Force Marathon was taking place...15000 runners strong, and our road was closed to traffic. But in the afternoon we headed over to the USAF Museum, which has an IMAX theater along with displays in 3 hangars starting with hot air balloons and the Wright brothers all the way through space flight and drones.
To enter and leave the hangars you have to go thru the gift shop first and last, of course...so very American of them! haha
They started with a tribute to the enlisted people, mentioning the 1st enlisted members, the 1st female Chief Master Sergeant in 1960, a Senior Airman who died in Afghanistan in 2002 and received the Air Force Cross for his heroism, and, of course, Bob Hope!
Each of the 3 hangars were basically broken down into 2 to 3 sections, with the 1st displays covering hot air balloons and how they were used in wars as early as the civil war.
It wouldn't be an air museum without the Wright Brothers, of course. Although the brothers took their first actual flight in North Carolina, it was on a section of this base that they worked out the particulars of flight...there is a section that has a memorial here somewhere, but we haven't seen it yet.
Just think of the advances made here: the 1st flight isn't till 1903 and goes only a matter of feet, but by the 1st World War in 1914 people were flying planes like the one below! I know most young people think the world only got started with the Internet, but the advances back in those days must have been mind blowing.
The 3rd and 4th pics are a quick story of 2 Roosevelt's, one in WWI and the other in WWII...when our leaders actually had family members invested in our wars.
And finally, they pointed out that at the same time that we had airplanes taking part in war, we were still using homing pigeons!
Didn't know that the Air Force song was the result of a song-writing contest in 1939.
They had a quite a display on some people who survived the Holocaust, but more specifically on how WWII and its aftermath led to the Berlin Airlift and the breakup of Berlin into 4 sectors. It definitely brought me back to the 2 years I was stationed there in the early 80s. It went into maps of all the concentration camps, including Dachau that I visited while there; Checkpoint Charlie that you had to cross to get to East Berlin and the Russian Sector; the Berlin Airlift, a major airlift feat to feed the Berliners when the Russians blockaded the city; and then they had a section of the Berlin Wall on display. The 2nd to last picture is a picture of a medal I wore in uniform, awarded simply because I served in Berlin during the Cold War. It was my favorite medal...It was called the "Army of Occupation" medal...I loved it because it sounded so tough! haha
This type of stuff, which we are used to seeing on airplanes of WWII vintage, always cracks me up...can you imagine a guy putting anything like this on his uniform coat today?
They had a bunch of stuff in the Aviation Hall of Fame section, but I put this guy's picture up (Engle, I mean) because Cathy was in charge of conducting his retirement ceremony at Lackland AFB.
I am all about these drones we have now...killing the enemy while holding on to a joy stick from 5000 miles away seems like the way to go to me! Amazing what can be done today!
This looks like a spaceship, or the Jetsons, to me. This was actually flying around in the 1990s and none of us knew anything about it.
I think there are quite a few civilians who know nothing about these flags. Unfortunately, we see them all too often nowadays...blue stars for families that have members serving, gold stars for those who have died. We see a lot of them in RV windows on the bases we visit.
Different Air Force Command and base patches...most of you will recognize Lackland, home to Air Force Basic Training, and therefore the gateway to the Air Force.
I included these just because I think they are totally cool looking!!! As for the SR-71, although it was a recon aircraft, I was told when I was in Russian Linguist school that it started out as a fighter, but because it was so fast it had to be converted to recon...supposedly it kept running into its own fire as it sped along. I don't know if that is true, but that's what we were told, and it sounds like a good story, so I am going with it!!! haha
Cathy is holding a lunch box for sale in the gift shop! Seems like the slogan came true, huh?!
These are the Air Force Core Values that all members must learn and exhibit. In all honesty, the hierachy about drove us crazy constantly changing these in the 1990s, but they finally settled on these 3, so that's good.
And finally, 3 of the medals that both Cathy and I wore...aren't they pretty?!