The 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook came about from a recent visit to the Museum in Pooler, GA where I went to do some research on my fathers service in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum was awesome and my research revealed answers to questions I had wondered about for many years. I was able to do some research at the Roger A. Freeman Eighty Air Force Research Center Library.
The museum was dedicated to honor the courage, character and patriotism embodied by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from WWII to the present.
Entrance & Lyle Rotunda
In these 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook layouts is the front entrance to the Mighty 8th Air Force Museum with its 8 flags displaying the 8th Air Force emblem as well as the American Flag.
Directly inside is the General Lewis E. Lyle Rotunda. Named for Major General Lewis E. Lyle, a B-17 veteran with over 70 WWII Combat Missions. In 1983 General Lyle initiated planning for a museum to honor the greatest air armada the world had ever seen the Mighty Eighth Air Force. Today, this museum pays homage to the tens of thousands who sacrificed in this effort.
From Savannah to the UK & The Navigators
Here is where the Mighty Eighth Air Force was born, on January 28, 1942, in Savannah, GA and the subsequent transfer to the United Kingdom. This map and listing of the bases in England, includes the first base my father was stationed at - Chelveston.
An interesting display for me at the 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook is the one that focuses on the Navigators. While looking through this display, I found 3 photos the sure look like my dad so I have included them in this layout. The display speaks to the pre-flight briefings and planning the route, getting the aircraft to the correct mission destination, keeping the aircraft in line with others in the formation, getting the aircraft back to base and then a de-briefing after the mission.
Pre-Flight Briefings & Mission Experience
The Mission Experience directs the visitor into an area that looks like the airfields in the UK. The Quonset Hut briefing area with maps and silhouettes of enemy aircraft is shown in these 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook layouts.
On to Flight Line Operations with the ground and maintenance crews and a close up look of a B-17 engine.
Finally a seat in the Mission Theater where we are participants of a bombing mission inside a B-17 where we experienced the noises, radio talk and explosions of firing by our gunners at the enemy aircraft trying to shoot us down and then the final experience of the dropping of the bombs.
These 8th Air Force Museum layouts depict more of the Mission Experience and a diorama of bombing mission on Ploesti, Romania.
One of my research goals was to find the name of one of my fathers aircraft and what happened to it. This page also has the information on that B-17 named "Hell's Battlewagon", the serial number (124372) and the fact that is was reported missing over Bizerte, Tunisa on 28 Nov 1942 and salvaged at St. Donat, Algeria. Also listed on this page are the crew members on that flight. My father and his regular crew were not scheduled to fly that day. In December 1942 the my father and his crew were transferred from the UK to North Africa to continue with their tours with the Eighth Air Force.
Chapel of Fallen Eagles
This chapel of stone was built to resemble an English chapel with some of the most unusual stained glass windows depicting various aircraft and patches from the groups stationed in the United Kingdom.
The Memorial Gardens outside the museum is composed Stone Walls and Granite Monuments with the names of service members from the Eighth Air Force line the winding paths around the reflecting pool. Each of these has been designed and funded by veterans and their families. There are also a Vietnam War Monument and a Korean War Monument in the Memorial Garden.
Memorial Plaques & Windows
In these 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook layouts is a B-47 Stratojet, the first swept-wing bomber which during the 1950's and 1960's played an important role in the nuclear deterrent for the United States. Crews for these stood on alert during the Cold War prepared to attack the Soviet Union with minutes warning.
I can remember seeing these often as a child with the blue strip and the white stars and hearing the motto "Peace is our Profession."
I hope you enjoyed these layouts from the 8th Air Force Museum Scrapbook. If you have any association with anyone who flew in World War II, I would suggest a trip to the museum in Pooler, GA (very near Savannah, Ga.) as the displays are very well laid out and the theater with the mission experience is awesome. The library and research center have a wealth of information. A great tribute to the flyers of the Mighty Eighth Air Force - Greatest Generation.
Here's a short little video of some of the museum exhibits.