The American Airpower Museum’s newest historical display was dedicated on Friday May 23rd 2014 kicking off our Memorial Day Weekend “Legends of Airpower” Weekend. The display designed and constructed by museum volunteers, led by Historian Julia Blum, and master craftsman Len Partiss highlights the amazing story of women war correspondents who braved the front lines of WWII primarily in the European theater of operations to tell the soldiers story to Americans back home.

Seven decades ago the events of World War II were the daily trepidation of all Americans. Everyone was touched in a profound way by the global conflict arising in Europe and the Pacific. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, nearly every family in the U.S. had a close relative serving in the military, working on the homefront or in a production plant on a fueled civilian mission. The American attitude of patriotism and national purpose toward the war effort was unprecedented. Rationing of food, clothing and petroleum became the order of the day so as to redirect the supply to the cause toward Allied victory over the Axis whose mindset threatened to unravel the fabric of society and trample the soul of humanity.

As Americans became involved in keeping pace with the enormity of the war at both home and the workplace, an essential factor of this national discipline was the vital role that media communication played in keeping the public informed and giving perspective as to why it was necessary for all to endure hardship.

At the dawn of the Second World War, the ramparts of gender bias in the U.S., which previously obstructed women from pursuing non-traditional professions had eroded considerably. While the barrier of sexism still remained firm within much of the American psyche, out of socio-economic necessity provoked by the war, it was no longer an unrealistic goal for a woman to consider making her own way in male-dominated occupations. Alongside other previously barricaded career opportunities that women had confronted, this barrier also related to the field of the news media, particularly the reporting of ‘’hard news’’ in print and photo journalism.

With the arrival of World War II came the emergence of American women in the field of journalism who reported the “hard news” from both stateside and overseas assignments, producing countless news reports and some of the most compelling imagery and absorbing written description and documentation of the era. Armed with pencil, typewriter and camera, women found their voice; a powerful voice that became a prime vehicle for bringing home the sights, the sounds and the feel of the war. These courageous women who brought the war home did so from the land, the sea and the air; from the home-front and behind front lines, as well as alongside the troops, reporting, documenting and capturing images from rugged field hospitals and battlegrounds, to the liberation of Buchenwald and Dachau.

Many of the journalists and photographers were already, or would become famous for their work in the years following WWII. These were some of the first women on the front lines during WWII. Be sure and stop in to see this fantastic exhibit and learn their story!

“Second Chance” is an original WWII C-47. Transferred to the RAF prior to D-Day our C-47 saw action in both the Overlord Operation and Market Garden. Currently our C-47 is one of the few true C-47s still in stock military configuration. During the summer visitors to the museum can fly on her as part of our living history D-Day Flight Experience program.

Mission : Air Transport, Airborne resupply, and Paratroop operations

Crew: 4-Pilot, Co-Pilot, Navigator, Radio Operator

Max Speed: 224 Mph/195kts

Range: 1391 nm

First Flight: 23 Dec 1941

In service: Still in foreign Military Service/ Civilian Transport Service

Length: 63′ 9″

Wingspan: 95′ 6″

Height: 17′

Max Takeoff Weight: 31,000lbs

Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney 1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company

“Miss Hap” is the oldest surviving B-25 having been the 4th off the North American Aviation Production Line in 1940

Mission: Medium Bomber

Max Speed: 272 Mph

Range: 1,350 nm

First Flight: 19 August 1940

In service: 1940-1979(Last Flown by Indonesian AF)

Length: 52′ 11″

Wingspan: 67′ 7″

Height: 16′ 4″

Max Takeoff Weight: 35,000lbs

Powerplant: 2x Wright R-2600 air cooled Radial Engine 1700hp

Manufacturer: North American Aviation

Mission

Transport

Max Speed

129 MPH

Range

400 Nautical Miles

First Flight

1939

In Service

(coming soon)

Other

Our “Cat” is currently undergoing restoration and we hope to have it flying by year’s end.

Mission

Advanced Fighter Trainer…

Max Speed

210 MPH

Range

629 Miles

First Flight

1935

In Service

Operational 1936 – 1958, U.S. (operational in other countries until 1996)

Other

No other trainer in history has been used by so many countries spanning the period from 1938

Mission

Fighter

Max Speed

362 MPH

Range

850 Miles

First Flight

1935

In Service

Operational 1937 through the end of WWII

Other

Best known for its service with the Claire Chennault American Volunteer Group, “The Flying Tigers.”