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The United States Air Force is a branch of the United States Armed Forces that defends the skies of the United States of America, and they also provide air support of the Navy, the Army and the Marines. The National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio displays the spirit and the dedication of the men and women who served in the Air Force. Located next to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, it is the largest military aviation museum in the world. The museum tells history of the Air Force from the very beginning to the present day. From fighter jets to civilian places to helicopters to rockets to space shuttles and space crafts to Air Force One, there is a variety of aircraft at the Museum of the United States Air Force. There is much to see at the museum. You will need so much time to see everything.
Now some of you are saying, “This place looks amazing. You have a museum completely devoted to the United States Air Force that honors the men in women who served our nation. As much as I respect those in uniform, I do see one very big problem. This is called the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Those who served in the in the Air Force did so by being in the air. The only time they were ever on the ground is when the planes were on the ground. Railroads are never in the air but on the ground. Because the is about the Air Force and not about railroads, you can be rest assured that I will not be taking off from here.”
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is about the United States Air Force. Those who served in the United States Air Force did so in the air. With all that, you must wonder what this museum has to do with the railroad.
Although the Air Force spends their time in the air, there are times when they are on the ground. While on the ground supplies need to be transported to different locations. How was that done? Some of it was done by rail. As you enter the museum complex, you first see the Air Park. The park consists of, of course, airplanes, but it also has a boxcar on display. Why is this boxcar here? It called the ‘Peacekeeper Rail Garrison Car’, and it was used on a train that was part of the Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Force. The trains were strategically used on the railroads across the nation as a mobile defense unit as opposed to a still target.
Now some of you are saying, “This is nice to see, but this is just a boxcar outside.”
That is true, but you do have to go inside to see something else.
The museum is housed in four hangers. As you enter the museum and pass through the gift shop, you walk by the World War I gallery and the Interwar Years gallery. You then enter the World War II gallery. Here you will see planes used during World War II. You will also see a French ‘Forty and Eight’ boxcar. It was a boxcar used by the Germans during World War II to transport supplies to the troops, and it was also used to transport Prisoners of War and Holocaust victims to the different concentration camps across Europe. The conditions during the transport were very harsh, and to make things worse, they had to survive being bombed by allied aircraft. One of these cars are on display at the museum to remember those who went through these conditions.
Now you have a reason to visit the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Along with the two rail cars you will see all types of aircraft used during wartime and during peacetime. The people of this museum go through great lengths to show the life of the United States Air Force and the great dedication of those who wore the United States Air Force uniform. Although the museum is completely handicap accessible, it is a very large museum. You will want to set aside plenty of time to see everything here. Once you are finished inside the museum, there is a memorial walk where monuments are set up to remember fallen soldiers, and there are also outside displays that include a World War II Air Tower.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located at 1100 Spaatz Street next to the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio. It is minutes from Interstates 70 and 675. It is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 5:00pm but closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. (Please note that not all exhibits are open year-round.) Parking is free and on site. Admission is also free. Please note that you will have to pass through a security checkpoint so it is suggested that you only bring what you will need and leave the unnecessary things in your car. You can get directions and more information about the museum to include some of their collections at https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/.
Up you go into the wild blue yonder. There you go to the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Nothing can stop the U.S. Air Force, and nothing should stop you from visiting this museum.
This article first appeared on johncowgillstoriesoftherailroad.com
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