Creating engaging and educational exhibits that record the rich history of March Field and the amazing advances in over 100 years of aviation is a never-ending process here at the March Field Air Museum. Amid some of your favorite exhibits there is always something new to see, something new to experience and something new to learn.
In the last few months within our main hangar, a new Observation Deck now overlooks the legendary SR-71 Blackbird and brings visitors nose to nose with a lurking MQ-1 Predator. Our newly acquired Curtiss Jenny replica flies over the 1920s exhibit near the recently added detailed model of the famous 1940’s B-19 Super bomber.
Our new immersive exhibit “The Civilian Experience of Aerial Bombardment” brings you deep into a British underground station during the London Blitz where the walls tremble under the German onslaught before casting you into the terror of the July 1943 Allied fire raid on Hamburg. Inside the exhibit, visitors hear the roar of bombers overhead, as the firestorm’s heat radiates through concrete walls as anti-aircraft guns blast and bombs detonate.
In our Cold War exhibit, visitors can peer through a B-52 Stratofortress bombsight while they and learn of the devastating effects of nuclear weapons. Moving into the future of aerial warfare, the museum now features a remotely piloted vehicle Ground Control Station for our MQ-1 Predator drone.
Recent additions to the Innovations Gallery include an expanded WASP Exhibit featuring uniforms of Dot Swain, pioneer aviator, WWII Women’s Airforce Service Pilot (WASP), and internationally renowned artist. Artifacts from F-4 Phantom pilot Colonel Frank Lenahan a veteran of the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing the legendary “MiG Killers”, take us into air combat over Southeast Asia while Silver Star awardee, Captain Rae Hodges plunges us into the treetop war of Forward Air Control in Vietnam.
Our A-2 Flight Jacket Collection has expanded to include torn leather jacket of SSgt Francis Flacks, still showing the scars from the German shrapnel that ripped into his back in May of 1944. Within our B-29 Campaign exhibit the burned shell of an M69 Incendiary recovered beneath modern Tokyo, bears witness to the intensity of the USAAF raids that turned Japanese cities into smoking rubble.
World War One has come to Hangar Two where a reproduction Fokker D-VI swoops low over the soon to be completed First World War mural. Joining the collection this year is an original Lafayette Escadrille Sioux Warrior insignia cut from the fabric of a veteran SPAD VII.
On the flight line, veteran UH-1 66-925 Huey “WILLOWDEAN” rises above the Vietnam Fire Base near a UH-1 Medivac cockpit display. Our newly restored YF-14 Tomcat wears its original livery from its history making time as one of the first F-14s produced. Recently the Restoration Department completed a F-104 Starfighter once assigned to General Chuck Yeager’s USAF Flight Test Unit at Edwards AFB. Nearby, B-29A Superfortress “Flagship 500” dedicated to the 4th Marine Division during the Second World War, polished surface glitters in the southern California sun as “Team Shine” continues its restoration of the historic bomber.
On the north end of our museum, the recent acquisition of a nearly 150-foot-long Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster forms the centerpiece of a NASA Memorial currently under development.
Anchoring the southern end of the museum our Iraq/Afghanistan Forward Operating Base continues to grow. We recently added 13 concrete T-barriers for March Field and local military units to paint unit murals.
There is a lot to see at the March Field Air Museum and much, much more on the way!