Tuesday, September 6, 2016

March Field Museum

Come on in for a history lesson - J and Bob Hope presenting

Museums are always interesting venues to while away the hours while learning a thing or two. That thing or two depends on the museum but learning is always present while viewing various exhibits.

Lots of planes - we mean lots of planes
Literally - right next door to the March Air Reserve Base

A well-conceived and easy accessible air museum located in Riverside County in Southern California is such a place. Hundreds of different aircraft, housed both within the confines of March Field Museum and in the acres surrounding the main building, offer visitors every type of flying machine imaginable.

Walking or taking the guided tram tour, the latter of which we recommend, allow you the opportunity to relax and learn about the air field.

It has quite a history.

Located right next door to the March Air Reserve Base, formerly known as March Air Force Base, the museum offers guests the chance to learn the history which helped shape the United States Air Force to this day.
WWII poster to civilian employees

For all those who fight for our freedom in the air

Even memorials for our 4 footed soldiers

One of the oldest still active bases in the United States being founded in February of 1918 as the Alessandro Flying Training Field. It was renamed in March of that same year for a pilot who was killed in an air crash in Texas. Second Lieutenant Peyton C. March had only fifteen days as a Lieutenant prior to the crash. His father also happened to be the Army Chief of Staff at the time of his son’s death.

Rather ironic that the base would change its name to March during the month of March with no particular relation to that month.

Soon to be Marilyn Monroe as a Rosie the Riveter 

In preparation for WWI the Army decided to build a number of facilities across the country and turn out a new fighting machine.

“Put the Yankee punch into the war by building an army in the air,” so said General George O. Squier.

And that they did. But one had to be careful at all times!

Letter from Norma Jeane
The vastness of the museum is awe inspiring as are all the planes, uniforms, plaques, mementos, weapons, and the rest that spells out the importance such a place has in the evolution of military flight. In house films clearly depict the day the base opened and follows the history to the present.

There’s something for everyone – even a poster depicting a pretty young woman working as a ‘Rosie the Riveter’. Her name was Norma Jeane Doughtery and later Marilyn Monroe. She worked ten hour days inspecting pilot-less planes, the early prototype of drones during WWII. She won a contest at a picnic and photos were taken of her by a Private Conover for the military press and the man who assigned the photographer was none other than Captain Ronald Reagan.

Early training flights
Every time period of the United States Air Force is depicted at the March Field Museum. There is way too much to mention or show in a short blog - one must visit to truly understand the enormity of the place.

Korean Conflict

One special and large exhibit is depicting the Vietnam War where an entire section of the museum is set up as a base far from the main command. Walking through the camouflaged netting one can almost imagine being in a far off corner of Asia fighting a war that must have been a nightmare every single wakening day. 

Welcome home.

Home was thousands of miles away from 'home' in reality

Paul next to a helicopter within the shade
J - the smell of Napalm in the morning - what?

Say hello to my big little friends - right!
Though many may argue about Vietnam, one thing can not be dallied with - every military personnel who served abroad in the steaming jungles or on some  God forsaken outpost need our utmost respect.

Wars are not always popular and sometimes in the future deemed not worthy but those in uniform serve - they are nothing but heroes who keep us safe at home.

As the day moved along so did our understanding of what a great country the United States is and always have been thanks to those who made sure to keep her safe.

At the March Field Museum one can not but wonder why someone would put themselves in harms way to protect a life sometimes taken for granted and sometimes not appreciated.

But the men and women in all five branches do on a daily basis - that is why we must visit these places of honor and fully understand what fellow Americans have given up to ensure our way of life.

Not a political statement by J and L but simply an acknowledgement of those who have sacrificed so much.

It should be noted that J's uncle - Captain Edward Thornell was killed in Vietnam in 1965 while flying an observation plane over the jungles on his birthday.

Type of plane Capt. Thornell was shot down in.

And as stated in a previous blog - J's father, George T. Beyer served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

J with his father's flight jacket on display at the March Field Museum

After hours of touring a 5 star venue as the March Field Museum is the day was done and the rest is history. A well thought out and staged history in fact.

As with all museums the amount of time spent will decide how much is learned. When visiting the March Field Museum we recommend plenty of time to take it all in.

There is a lot to take in and every bit of it is as interesting as the next.

Paul says: "Take your time to enjoy or else!"