Monday, June 13, 2011

Wright Patterson Air Force Base

Our home is now located on this base, where our niece Laura's husband Mike works. Security clearance is needed to reside here and consequently passes are needed every time we leave and later need to get back in. Reveille is played every morning Monday through Friday at 7:30 am. I keep thinking of that phrase: "you are in the army now".  There is a certain military mentality which comes with living on such a large base, and it is an ever present feeling even when one is off the base. Yesterday, at Peace Lutheran church, the pastor slipped up and said "Pentagon" instead of, what I am sure he meant, Pentecost. Anyway, it  seemed natural then that the first place to visit while in the Dayton area would be a museum of airplanes.
 This is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, and features more than 300 aircraft and missiles in 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. It took John two days to see most of it, I chose to see it in one day. It was not as boring as I imagined because I discovered that in its presentation of the development of aviation, the museum is also covering a rather comprehensive military history of the United States. We started our tour in the Presidential Aircraft Gallery. The aircraft of Presidents Franklin D.Roosevelt (his was named the Sacred Cow), Harry Truman (The Independence), Dwight D. Eisenhower( Columbine), John Kennedy and Johnson are housed there. It was during Kennedy's term that the presidential aircraft started receiving the name Air Force One. Below is a picture of Kennedy's aircraft, it had the sad task of carrying Kennedy's body back to Washington after his assassination. It saw a total of 30 years of service serving 8 presidents, the last one being President Clinton.  Notice the presidential seal in the front side of the plane.
The museum also displays the unmanned aerial vehicle or "drone".This became important for strategic reconnaissance and was first designed in the 1960s.
 There is also a section of the museum devoted to the aircraft and tools of the 21st century. Below is a picture of a rescue all-terrain vehicle.
 Seeing that vehicle and also viewing a short film recounting the events in Afghanistan in 2002 at the battle of Takur Ghar(our first major battle there) made it all too real to me what our servicemen and women are enduring in many war zones of the world today.

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