If you are ever in the Tucson, AZ area and you fail to go to this museum, shame on you. I'm an army guy, not really into aircraft much, but this place is absolutely amazing. I challenge any red-blooded American man to walk into the 390th Bombardment Group Memorial hanger with the B17 exhibit and be able to walk out of there dry-eyed. If you do, you either have more self-control than I, or you have never served a cause greater than yourself. There was a B17 named "G.I. Wonder" and I am going to attempt to contact any of the surviving crew members, if there are any, and ask for the honor of naming my HMMWV on my next deployment after that aircraft. I am also going to find out if they will allow me to be part of the honor guard during their next reunion. Like most reunions, they have an honor guard transport a folded flag into the room and place it in an empty chair in remembrance of those not present for roll call. I know modern aircrews are in a world of hurt if they are shot down in indian territory, but those airmen of that war were truly something. Standing in a lightly clad tube, unable to break formation, just taking whatever AA fire or intercept fighters the enemy had to offer with only machine guns and hopefully escort fighters to protect them. This is stuff I already knew, but it had a much more profound impact on me when I walked into that exhibit and saw the numbers of WIA and KIA and the numbers of missions some of these aircraft flew.
"I have always been a soldier. I have known no other life. The calling of arms, I have followed from boyhood. I have never sought another." From The Virtues of War, by Steven Pressfield.
6 years 6 weeks ago, 12:24 AM