National Museum of the USAF!

Doin’ what we can with just a little bit of time in the National Museum of the USAF!

We’re in Dayton, Ohio and we’ve got about 3.5 hours to spend in the museum. Normally this would be enough time, but this place is huge!

Hello Ohio!

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Stopping at the museum has been a maybe for us, but because of the recommendation of a few people, we’re making this a definite stop!

In about a month we’ll be in Northern Ohio… more on that when we get there!

Off We Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder!

In Case you’re interested in costs to enter… It’s completely FREE!

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The museum is located adjacent to Wright-Patterson AFB

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And this place is huge! We only have about 3 hours before closing, so there’s no time to waste!

WWI

We start with the WWI section.

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Immediately, we notice the Wright Flyer! There’s Orville Wright giving flight lessons to an Army Lt.

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We learned all about the Wright Brothers first flight while visiting Kitty Hawk!

It’s amazing how quickly guns get added to these things.

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But I guess that’s what happens when you’re fighting a world war.

One little case somehow draws our attention…

His Name Is Not Stumpy!

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Alright, you might be thinking: “What’s up with this Pidgeon??”
But man let me tell you, he’s got tenacity!

In January 1918 at 2:35pm, this fella is hatched (isn’t that cute!) behind the lines in France!

This little dude spent his time serving as one of the most active homing pigeons in the Army and his barrage-dodging skill was apparent in many exciting flights from the front line trenches.

At about 9 month old, this little fella is released from a front line dugout. He’s carrying an important message for headquarters at Rampont, 25 miles away!

As he approaches the men in the trenches see a shell explode near the pigeon. The Concussion tosses him upward before he plunges back down. Struggling, he regains his altitude and continues his course!!!

Arriving at Rampont 25 minutes later, the bird is a terrible sight. A bullet has pierced his left breast and bits of shrapnel has ripped his tiny body; not only that… his right leg is missing!

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But the message tube, is still intact.

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It takes several weeks of nursing, but the bird’s health is restored! He soon becomes a war hero and is given the name John Silver, after the one-legged pirate in Treasure Island.

Becoming the 11th Signal Company’s mascot, he is retired from active duty and his name added to the unit’s roll call.

Little John Silver lives to the ripe old age of 17 years and 11 months!! Before dying of wounds received in battle in the service of his country.

John Silver now lives on here (kinda)… and we’re glad to have learned his story!

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Hearing an announcement about a 3:00pm tour we cruise on over to learn more about it.

Where Are We?? …Finding A Map!

On our way to the tour, we pass through the holocaust section,

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Which holds one of the few remaining uniforms in existence

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Okay… as interesting as everything here is, we’ve got to make our tour!

and this map shows how ridiculously big this place is…

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We’ve only explored the 1st half of the 1st (left) building!!!

The tour takes place in the far right building!
We’ve got to go!

The Tour! – Space, R&D, Presidential

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The tour we’re on is geared toward space, research & development, and presidential aircraft.

The first stop, space!

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There’s everything from spy satellites, to space re-entry training planes.

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The actual Apollo 15 shuttle, which landed on the moon!

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The Challenger incident grounded the reusable shuttle craft for a while, this giant disposable rocket was the solution.

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Speaking of the space shuttle!

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It’s actually only a mockup unfortunately. The controls inside are somewhat real. This is the actual module used for shuttle flight training!

Pilots need to be able to find and utilize each little switch, even with their eyes closed!

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Lets see how good we do!

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Alright… maybe we got distracted from the tour…

Research & Development

Here we have some of the fastest, and most unique aircraft

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This little guy is a research aircraft designed to avoid radar by conventional means. It has recently been declassified after flying for many years around Area-51.

Maybe it’s the source behind all those UFO sightings?

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Speaking of UFOs!

This thing can only get about 30 feet off the ground… and is a nightmare to control….

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Some aircraft are open to go into!

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Presidential

In the presidential section, is something very fitting to be in the USAF museum.

This pen is the actual pen used by President Truman to sign the piece of legislation leading to the creation of the Air Force in 1947!

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This presidential plane is the first plane to have the designation Air Force  One.

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It’s actually an interesting story:
As this plane is flying along with President Eisenhower onboard, another plane enters the airspace with the same last four in its tail number.

Recognizing the confusion on the ground, the pilot quickly changes their callsign to Air Force One. It has been this ever since.

It’s cool to be able to step inside the actual aircraft flown in by our past presidents.

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Making Our Escape!

With the tour complete and only 20 minutes left before closing, we quicking walk through the remaining displays.

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Here’s some shots of the Cold War section.

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Into some more modern aircraft.

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Leaving the museum we see one last aircraft. Anyone out there have a special connection with this one?

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If you love aircraft (or even have a slight interest) you need to visit the USAF Museum. We definitely need to come back.

Leave us a comment! 😀