USAF Museum

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting the USAF Museum.

As a student/huge fan of history, the Military, Aircraft and big shooty things... I was in awe.

This place is huge. I did not take this picture, clearly. But it does give you an idea of the size of the complex. It's monstrous. In fact it's the world's largest and oldest military aviation museum. (Photo credit goes to the US Air Force. They said it was okay.)

(Again, photo credit to the USAF. From here on out the photos are all mine, hence their occasional blurriness.)

The lobby is basically a large atrium. Icarus greets you in all of his naked glory. Well, there is that lil leaf in front...

Not so much on the backside. He has the body of a Greek God, wouldn't you say? :)

"Epi?"
"Mmmhmmm..." I'm lost in thought.
"Quit oogling his ass and get moving. We have some ground to cover."

Okay Okay.

We spent a few minutes in a small exhibit dedicated to Military Photographers (I would have loved that job...) The images in that exhibit were stunning. Here's two of my favorites:

The caption reads:

The C-17 Globemaster III from the 14th Airlift Squadron, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., releases flares over the Atlantic Ocean near Charleston during a training mission in May 2006. The "smoke angel" is caused by a vortex from the engines.
USAF photo by Tech. Sgt. Russel E. Cooley IV


The caption reads:

Staff Sgt. Israel del Toro was wounded during combat action in Afghanistan in December 2005 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecillio M. Ricardo Jr.

I could have spent an hour or two just looking at the amazing photography. I quickly found myself being dragged towards the main exhibits.

The first hangar we visited was the Early Years Gallery covering the Wright Brothers all the way up to just before World War II.


I know absolutely nothing about this particular plane, I just know it was hanging upside down from the ceiling and heading straight for a very large blimp.

Mc Hottie's favorite exhibit. The one where the Airman gets his ass chewed.


And the butt chewing.


I snapped this shot just because I truly believe ambulances should be armed with them. Hey, it's just a practice bomb!



An ambulance for that bomb. I believe the last truck I worked in was just about this old.

Next up we had an exhibit about the Holocaust. Extremely moving.

I'm Polish, German, Irish and French Canadian, but I grew up in a neighborhood known as the Polish Village in Toledo. My church has Polish Masses every Sunday. I went to a Catholic grade school for nine years that taught us in very graphic detail about the horrors of the Holocaust.

It was a very moving exhibit to go through.

Arbeit Macht Frei means literally "Work makes (one) free". It was a common German phrase posted at the entrance to many nazi concentration camps. That's my baby brother, The Responsible One on the right, McHottie on the left, with my wonderful Sister In Law behind him.

This was a plexiglass case containing an accordian with a story about it being a child's most prized posession. I would have taken more pictures, but I was too busy crying.

This was the jacket of one of the liberators, a Soldier from Dayton, Ohio.

I wiped my tears away just long enough to retreat from the Holocaust exhibit and run smack dab into this:


If you know what these banners symbolize you'll know why my tears continued to fall.

They put on the uniform, so that we could continue to enjoy our freedom. Freedom to bitch to our hearts content on our blogs. Freedom to practice and worship whatever faith we choose. Freedom. As a former Army girl, the ex girlfriend (and very good friend) of someone who just reenlisted knowing that he very well might be heading over to Iraq, the Granddaughter of a Korean War Veteran, the very proud cousin of an Enduring Freedom Veteran, and former partner of an Air Force Veteran...

Once again, my cup runneth over. Thank you for the sacrifices you made.

Next up, the Air Powery Gallery. WWII Aircraft mostly.

I have no idea what this is. But it's shiny. That's the ADOBSO kicking in again.

(Edited to add: "The first shiny thing is a Seversky P35. It was the first all metal monoplane fighter in the USAAC. As everyone of course knows, Seversky became Republic and Republic produced a lot of planes including the P47.

The P 35 was sold in small numbers to the USAAC and Sweden. By the start of WW II, it was pretty much obsolete. Ironically, a two seat version was sold to Japan before the start of the war. ")



Made me think of Rosie the Riveter.


This is just about a quarter of this particular hangar.


Again, I have no idea what this is... Maybe Greybeard can help out....


Oooooh, shooty things... The card reads:

FP-45 "Liberator" Pistol Originally developed in 1942 for the U.S. Army by the Inland Manufacturing Division of the General Motors Corporation in Dayton, Ohio, this single-shot, smooth bore, .45 caliber pistol had a mysterious history. Intended for mass distribution in enemy-occupied territory to incite revolt and uprisings, the Army referred to it as a "flare pistol" (FP-45) to ensure secrecy. The Frigidaire plant at Dayton chambered the rough barrels, and workers at the Guide Lamp plant at Anderson, Indiana assembled 1 million of these weapons. In Europe, the Allied commanders deemed the mass distribution impractical, and very few FP-45s were delivered to resistance forces. Only Chinese forces received many of these weapons, and most of them were destroyed.

Lord Guard And Guide the Men who Fly. In memory nine who made the desert a highway for our God.

Transported from Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya, it honors the original crew of the "Cursed Plane" The museum has parts of this particular aircraft, a B-24 (Lady Be Good) that disappeared in 1943 over Italy. It wasn't found until 1959... In Libya. In a desert.


My namesake. The Strawberry Bitch. God I love the art that adorned the sides of aircraft back in the day.


Another bright shiny flying thing I can't identify, but I'm sure someone out there can.

(Edited to add: "Five By Five" is a P-47 Thunderbolt, more commonly referred to as "The Jug".
It had 2,000 horsepower hanging on its nose, and was a damn tough airplane. -- Thanks Greybeard!)


Ya still with me? Surely someone is. Maybe? I promise there's more shooty things coming....


I was trying to figure out what the little bombs on the side of this plane meant. I thought instantly of College Football helmets. I'm sure it has something to do with kills or something like that.


Fiery Ginger.

Another namesake.

The WWII hangar was incredible, but we were pretty anxious to get moving towards the next exhibit.

Modern Flight. Awesome stuff, and it reminded me of my Grandpa who fought in Korea.

Okay, I'm ready for bed. For those of you still reading, I promise to finish tomorrow.

9 comments:

NannyOgg said...

Wow!!!!!!!

I wanna go there! Great pictures, great post!

Karen

Greybeard said...

I can't help you with the shiny "Rosie the Riveter" airplane...
So many of the aircraft in that museum are labelled "The only known copy in existence", I had a nightmare after the last time I visited the place thinking about fire. Anyone with ANY interest in aviation should go... as you have indicated, there is far more to see than just shiny flying things.

Too little information in that one pic for me to identify it, Epi, except that it looks like the tail-gunner position on a bomber. Did the B-36 have a tail-gunner? I actually was fortunate enough to fly in the sole flying version of a B-24 some years back, and the tail-gunner position didn't look like that.

"Five By Five" is a P-47 Thunderbolt, more commonly referred to as "The Jug".
It had 2,000 horsepower hanging on its nose, and was a damn tough airplane.

Thanks for the tour. It's been 20 years since I've been to Dayton and it's time to go back.

Tony said...

I'm very much regretting never having gotten to the museum when we lived in Richmond (IN).

I thought that bombs painted on a bomber signified the number of missions and flags were the number of aircraft the pilot had downed, but it's definitely not first hand knowledge that's coming from so I might be way wrong.

Thanks for the virtual tour!

TOTWTYTR said...

That's a place that's on my list of "I got to get there some day".

The first shiny thing is a Seversky P35. It was the first all metal monoplane fighter in the USAAC. As everyone of course knows, Seversky became Republic and Republic produced a lot of planes including the P47.

The P 35 was sold in small numbers to the USAAC and Sweden. By the start of WW II, it was pretty much obsolete. Ironically, a two seat version was sold to Japan before the start of the war.

Yeah, I Googled most of that, but I knew it was either a P 35 or a P 36, which were competing designs.

I also know that the P 36 was developed into the P 40, which was a very successful fighter.

Epijunky said...

Karen... It's really a fascinating place... I think my boy would LOVE it!

Greybeard, Thanks so much for the info, I'm going to edit the post in a second. And I just posted the second half of our visit, check it out if you get a chance!

Tony, I think you might be right there... That sounds familiar.

TOTWTYTR, Thank you, I'm updating it in a second... And if you ever make it up here, I'd love to meet up with you. I know virtually nothing about the earlier aircraft.

Michael said...

Hey Epi, having grown up going to Dayton to visit family and then living there for four years I have been to that museum many times.

The bombs on the side of the aircraft represent that tonnage of bombs dropped by the aircraft if my memory serves me right.

Jay Stribling said...

"Again, I have no idea what this is... Maybe Greybeard can help out...."

Well, my hair is gray but I am not the "Greybeard" mentioned above. The photo looks like the front end of a B-18 Bolo bomber. This was the armed version of the DC-2 airliner.

TOTWTYTR said...

The little bombs painted on the side of the plane indicate the number of missions flown.

danny said...

Makes me wish I'd had a camera back when I went to the Pensacola, FL Naval Air Museum. That place was awesome.