The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is a non-profit organization with a museum facility located in Pooler, Georgia, in the western suburbs of Savannah. It educates visitors through the use of exhibits, artifacts, archival materials, and stories, most of which are dedicated to the history of the Eighth Air Force of the United States Army Air Corps that served in the European Theatre during World War II.
Among the many World War II exhibits are aircraft including a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber that can be viewed while being restored, a model of a Messerschmitt Bf 109G fighter, and a 3/4-scale model of a P-51 Mustang fighter. Aircraft on display outside include the B-47 Stratojet, MiG-17, and F-4 Phantom II from the post-WWII Cold War era.
|National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force|
Location within Georgia (U.S. state)
|Established||14 May 1996|
|Founder||Major General Lewis E. Lyle|
Planning for a museum dedicated to the Eighth Air Force began in 1983. Thirteen years later, on 14 May 1996, the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum opened to the public.
A 2003 statute named the museum as the official State of Georgia center for character education. The museum received a B-17 project from the National Air and Space Museum in January 2009. In February 2011, a fire truck that was used at Hunter Army Airfield during World War II was donated to the museum.
The Barksdale Global Power Museum (formerly, the Eighth Air Force Museum) is an aviation museum run by the United States Air Force on Barksdale Air Force Base near Bossier City, Louisiana. Hosted by the 2nd Bomb Wing, it maintains a large collection of military aircraft and historical artifacts that illuminate the early days of United States military aviation, the Barksdale base, and the formations of the 2nd Bomb Wing and the 8th Air Force.
The museum aims to preserve the heritage and traditions of the Air Force, particularly those of the 2nd Bomb Wing and other bomber units; to stimulate esprit de corps among Air Force personnel; to educate the public about the Air Force; and to ensure proper stewardship of its aircraft, artifacts, and art.
The museum is located at the north gate, Bossier Gate. The admission is free and the hours of operation are from 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A gift shop is inside the museum and shares the same business time as the museum.Boeing B-47 Stratojet
The Boeing B-47 Stratojet (company Model 450) is a retired American long-range, six-engined, turbojet-powered strategic bomber designed to fly at high subsonic speed and at high altitude to avoid enemy interceptor aircraft. The primary mission of the B-47 was as a nuclear bomber capable of striking targets within the Soviet Union.
Development of the B-47 can be traced back to a requirement expressed by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) in 1943 for a reconnaissance bomber that harnessed newly developed jet propulsion. Another key innovation adopted during the development process was the swept wing, drawing upon captured German research. With its engines carried in nacelles underneath the wing, the B-47 represented a major innovation in post-World War II combat jet design, and contributed to the development of modern jet airliners. Suitably impressed, in April 1946, the USAAF ordered two prototypes, designated "XB-47"; on 17 December 1947, the first prototype performed its maiden flight. Facing off competition such as the North American XB-45, Convair XB-46 and Martin XB-48, a formal contract for 10 B-47A bombers was signed on 3 September 1948. This would be soon followed by much larger contracts.
During 1951, the B-47 entered operational service with the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC), quickly becoming a mainstay of its bomber strength by the late 1950s. Over 2,000 were manufactured to meet the Air Force's extensive demands, driven by the tensions of the Cold War. The B-47 was in service as a strategic bomber until 1965, at which point it had largely been supplanted by more capable aircraft, such as the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. However, the B-47 was also adapted to perform a number of other roles and functions, including photographic reconnaissance, electronic intelligence, and weather reconnaissance. While never seeing combat as a bomber, reconnaissance RB-47s would occasionally come under fire near to or within Soviet air space. The type remained in service as a reconnaissance aircraft until 1969; a handful served as flying testbeds up until 1977.Consolidated B-24 Liberator
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American heavy bomber, designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego, California. It was known within the company as the Model 32, and some initial production aircraft were laid down as export models designated as various LB-30s, in the Land Bomber design category.
At its inception, the B-24 was a modern design featuring a highly efficient shoulder-mounted, high aspect ratio Davis wing. The wing gave the Liberator a high cruise speed, long range and the ability to carry a heavy bomb load. Early RAF Liberators were the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a matter of routine. In comparison with its contemporaries, the B-24 was relatively difficult to fly and had poor low-speed performance; it also had a lower ceiling and was less robust than the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. While aircrews tended to prefer the B-17, General Staff favored the B-24 and procured it in huge numbers for a wide variety of roles. At approximately 18,500 units – including over 4,600 manufactured by Ford Motor Company – it holds records as the world's most produced bomber, heavy bomber, multi-engine aircraft, and American military aircraft in history.
The B-24 was used extensively in World War II. It served in every branch of the American armed forces as well as several Allied air forces and navies. It saw use in every theater of operations. Along with the B-17, the B-24 was the mainstay of the US strategic bombing campaign in the Western European theater. Due to its range, it proved useful in bombing operations in the Pacific, including the bombing of Japan. Long-range anti-submarine Liberators played an instrumental role in closing the Mid-Atlantic gap in the Battle of the Atlantic. The C-87 transport derivative served as a longer range, higher capacity counterpart to the Douglas C-47 Skytrain.
By the end of World War II, the technological breakthroughs of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and other modern types had surpassed the bombers that served from the start of the war. The B-24 was rapidly phased out of U.S. service, although the PB4Y-2 Privateer maritime patrol derivative carried on in service with the U.S. Navy in the Korean War.Eighth Air Force
The Eighth Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) (8 AF) is a numbered air force (NAF) of the United States Air Force's Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC). It is headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. The command serves as Air Forces Strategic – Global Strike, one of the air components of United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM). The Eighth Air Force includes the heart of America's heavy bomber force: the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber, the B-1 Lancer supersonic bomber, and the B-52 Stratofortress heavy bomber aircraft.
Established on 22 February 1944 by the redesignation of VIII Bomber Command at RAF Daws Hill in High Wycombe, England, the Eighth Army Air Force (8 AAF) was a United States Army Air Forces combat air force in the European Theater of World War II (1939/41–1945), engaging in operations primarily in the Northern Europe area of responsibility; carrying out strategic bombing of enemy targets in France, the Low Countries, and Germany; and engaging in air-to-air fighter combat against enemy aircraft until the German capitulation in May 1945. It was the largest of the deployed combat Army Air Forces in numbers of personnel, aircraft, and equipment.
During the Cold War (1945–1991), 8 AF was one of three Numbered Air Forces of the United States Air Force's Strategic Air Command (SAC), with a three-star general headquartered at Westover AFB, Massachusetts commanding USAF strategic bombers and missiles on a global scale. Elements of 8 AF engaged in combat operations during the Korean War (1950–1953); Vietnam War (1961–1975), as well as Operation Desert Storm (1990–1991) over Iraq and occupied Kuwait in the First Persian Gulf War.Gil Cohen (artist)
Gil Cohen (born July 28, 1931 in Philadelphia) is an American artist, noted for his illustrations of aircraft and people in military service, who also illustrated men's magazines, books and movie posters.List of displayed Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses
The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered, strategic bomber operated by the United States Air Force (USAF) since 1955. The B-52A first flew in 1954, and the B model entered service in 1955. A total of 744 B-52s were built with the last, a B-52H, delivered in October 1962. It served in the Strategic Air Command, the Air Combat Command, and the B-52H continues to serve in the Air Force Global Strike Command and the Air Force Reserve Command.
The B-52D models have the distinction of being the last bombers in aviation history to have shot down enemy aircraft during wartime with machine guns (tail gunners); two Vietnam War MiG killer bombers are currently preserved and on display at Fairchild AFB and the United States Air Force Academy. ()
Only the B-52H model is still active in the Air Force inventory. It is primarily assigned to the Air Force Global Strike Command and the Air Force Reserve Command, with one additional example in the Air Force Materiel Command supporting flight research operations with NASA.List of museums in Georgia (U.S. state)
This list of museums in Georgia contains museums which are defined for this context as institutions (including nonprofit organizations, government entities, and private businesses) that collect and care for objects of cultural, artistic, scientific, or historical interest and make their collections or related exhibits available for public viewing. Museums that exist only in cyberspace (i.e., virtual museums) are not included.Nose art
Nose art is a decorative painting or design on the fuselage of an aircraft, usually on the front fuselage.
While begun for practical reasons of identifying friendly units, the practice evolved to express the individuality often constrained by the uniformity of the military, to evoke memories of home and peacetime life, and as a kind of psychological protection against the stresses of war and the probability of death. The appeal, in part, came from nose art not being officially approved, even when the regulations against it were not enforced.Because of its individual and unofficial nature, it is considered folk art, inseparable from work as well as representative of a group. It can also be compared to sophisticated graffiti. In both cases, the artist is often anonymous, and the art itself is ephemeral. In addition, it relies on materials immediately available.Nose art is largely a military tradition, but civilian airliners operated by the Virgin Group feature "Virgin Girls" on the nose as part of their livery. In a broad sense, the tail art of several airlines such as the Eskimo of Alaska Airlines can be called "nose art", as are the tail markings of present-day U.S. Navy squadrons. There were exceptions, including the VIII Bomber Command, 301st Bomb Group B-17F "Whizzer", which had its girl-riding-a-bomb on the dorsal fin.Roger A. Freeman
Roger A. Freeman (11 May 1928 – 7 October 2005) was an English farmer who also became a noted military aviation historian specialising in US Eighth Air Force operations during World War II.
Born in Ipswich, Suffolk, Freeman grew up on the family farm in Dedham, Essex. In 1943, Martin B-26 Marauder bombers of the US Eighth Air Force’s 386th Bomb Group arrived at Boxted airfield – less than two miles away – sparking Freeman’s lifelong fascination with the wartime US Army Air Forces operating from Britain. When his father was granted permission to cut the airfield’s grass for haymaking, the young Freeman made the most of opportunities to examine the aircraft and befriend personnel on the base – later tenants of which included the 354th Fighter Group of the Ninth Air Force; and the Eighth Air Force’s 56th Fighter Group which, flying Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, became the highest-scoring USAAF group in the European theatre.
The teenage Freeman also took bicycle rides to see many other airfields in the East Anglian counties of Essex, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk, and collated aircraft identification numbers – a hobby that once led to a security alert and a warning from his headmaster at Colchester High School.
Interviewed in 2002, Freeman recalled a sight in February 1945, the sheer scale of which set him on a course to writing a book about the US Eighth Air Force and the enormity of its missions. "It was a freezing morning with excellent visibility. Two columns of bombers were going out, one overhead [Dedham] and the other over Suffolk, which I could see by the contrails. I counted 28 formations, and knew there’d be about 40 planes in each. So I was looking at more than 1,000 planes – 10,000 men – going to war." Formed in 1942, the Eighth Air Force could muster more than 3,000 bombers and fighters by 1944, and operated from some 60 airfields in what Freeman called the "greater East Anglia area" of England.
After the war, Freeman continued to work for his father and began writing about agriculture for local publications including the Essex County Standard. He also began to impart his knowledge about the wartime USAAF with articles for aviation magazines and started to collate material for his planned book. Much of this included official documents sourced from the United States as well as personal accounts and photographs from USAAF veterans. Taking over the family farm in 1959, it would be another 11 years before Freeman could finish his book, a task in which he was assisted by his wife, Jean, whom he married in 1956.
In 1970, just before the book began its first print-run in the US, the publishers asked if Freeman would change its long title to something more succinct. He decided on The Mighty Eighth, a term widely used since and even adopted by the post-war US Eighth Air Force during its association with Strategic Air Command. The book was an instant success and has been translated into several languages. While continuing his farming, Freeman followed it up with a series of titles under the same banner, including The Mighty Eighth War Diary, The Mighty Eighth War Manual and the Mighty Eighth in Colour. His overall output of some 60 books also included works about the wartime Royal Air Force, individual aircraft studies, airfield histories and profiles of USAAF units – including the Boxted-based 56th Fighter Group of Freeman's youth. Aside from aviation, he also wrote books in the rural dialect local to the Dedham area, including I Mind the Time: Country Goings-on and That Were Like This Here.
The original Mighty Eighth book helped to galvanise veterans’ groups in the US and led to Freeman's appointment as historian and symposium moderator of the Eighth Air Force Historical Society. He was also a consultant for the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force near Savannah, Georgia, in the early 1990s. The museum's study department is today known as the ‘Roger A. Freeman Eighth Air Force Research Center’. In the UK, Freeman was an important figure in the creation of the American Air Museum at the Imperial War Museum Duxford, Cambridgeshire. In 2012 the museum acquired the bulk of his archive of research material and made the photographs available online at the crowd-sourced American Air Museum website. Meanwhile, his knowledge led to consultancy roles for many TV documentaries and the job of technical adviser for the 1989 David Puttnam/Catherine Wyler film Memphis Belle.
Freeman died in October 2005 after suffering from cancer, and is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters. His memorial service at St Mary's Church in Dedham was attended by family and friends, senior US Air Force officers and members of the historic aviation community, and was preceded with a tribute flypast by Sally B (a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress bomber) and a North American P-51 Mustang fighter. Lt General E.G. "Buck" Shuler Jr, who had commanded the US Eighth Air Force during the 1990/91 Gulf War, said: "Roger Freeman was the finest aviation historian and writer since the dawn of military aviation. He aided me immeasurably in putting together the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Savannah, Georgia in the mid-90s. A true gentleman has departed from the scene."Strategic Air Command
For the current active command, see Air Force Global Strike Command
Strategic Air Command (SAC) was both a United States Department of Defense (DoD) Specified Command and a United States Air Force (USAF) Major Command (MAJCOM), responsible for Cold War command and control of two of the three components of the U.S. military's strategic nuclear strike forces, the so-called "nuclear triad," with SAC having control of land-based strategic bomber aircraft and intercontinental ballistic missiles or ICBMs (the third leg of the triad being submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) of the U.S. Navy).
SAC also operated all strategic reconnaissance aircraft, all strategic airborne command post aircraft, and all USAF aerial refueling aircraft, to include those in the Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG).
However, SAC did not operate the KB-50, WB-50 and WB-47 weather reconnaissance aircraft operated through the mid and late 1960s by the Air Weather Service, nor did SAC operate the HC-130 or MC-130 operations aircraft capable of aerial refueling helicopters that were assigned to Tactical Air Command (TAC), then Military Airlift Command (MAC), and from 1990 onward, those MC-130 aircraft operated by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), or any AFRES (now Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC)) or ANG tactical aerial refueling aircraft (e.g., HC-130, MC-130) operationally gained by TAC, MAC or AFSOC.
SAC primarily consisted of the Second Air Force (2AF), Eighth Air Force (8AF) and the Fifteenth Air Force (15AF), while SAC headquarters (HQ SAC) included Directorates for Operations & Plans, Intelligence, Command & Control, Maintenance, Training, Communications, and Personnel. At a lower echelon, SAC headquarters divisions included Aircraft Engineering, Missile Concept, and Strategic Communications.
In 1992, as part of an overall post-Cold War reorganization of the U.S. Air Force, SAC was disestablished as both a Specified Command and as a MAJCOM, and its personnel and equipment redistributed among the Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), and Air Education and Training Command (AETC), while SAC's central headquarters complex at Offutt AFB, Nebraska was concurrently transferred to the newly created United States Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM), which was established as a joint Unified Combatant Command to replace SAC's Specified Command role.
In 2009, SAC's previous USAF MAJCOM role was reactivated and redesignated as the Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), with AFGSC eventually acquiring claimancy and control of all USAF bomber aircraft and the USAF strategic ICBM force.