B-52 On the Move
What an exciting week at The Museum of Flight! The veteran B-52G #2584 was finally towed into place on the site where the new Vietnam Veterans Memorial Park is currently being built. Over the past several weeks, the team from Sellen Construction has installed the steel and poured the concrete for the support beams that will provide a stable foundation for our Stratofortress.
The Museum is very fortunate to have so many skilled docents who are eager to share their aerospace stories and knowledge with visitors of all ages. Join us later this month for several opportunities to hear presentations from docents who are also veterans with first-hand experience of the Vietnam War.
Docent storytelling is FREE with Museum admission, no RSVP required.
- Friday, March 22 at 1:00 PM - "The B-52 and Vietnam" with Dave Wellman in the Quonset Hun on the first floor of the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing.
- Thursday, March 28 at 1:00 PM - "Vietnam Air Assault" with Dave Waggoner in the Quonset Hun on the first floor of the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing.
- Friday, March 29 at 1:00 PM - "The Vietnam War" with Cal Kam at the bronze map in the "Vietnam Divided" exhibit in the T.A. Wilson Great Gallery.
Saving the Green Berets
Jerry Coy was a pilot in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. He recently sat down with the Museum's Docent Storytelling Specialist Sean Mobley to share his experiences:
"I'm flying around 50 feet above the trees, and the Green Beret I'm talking to, Staff Sergeant Troy Gilley, he tells me, 'You're right over us now.' So that's basically how I find out where the fellows are. And he says, 'Can you give us some immediate support?' There's no way in the world to call in fighters because the weather is just not going to allow them to get there. I always carried a bag of hand grenades with me in the airplane, so I drop our a few hand grenades and ask him, 'Was that a good location?' He said, 'Perfect! Do some more.'"
The documentary film project "Apache Blues: Welcome Home" explores the conflicting narratives surrounding the Vietnam War and how the media plays a part in perpetuating these harmful ideas. The filmmakers were guided by a team of veterans who served in the Alpha (Apache) Troop of the 9th Air Cavalry unit, and set out to find why movies and classrooms say one thing, but veterans who actually lived through the war say another.
"They learned from Hollywood that WWII veterans are heroes who rose up and helped save the world from an evil madman, while Vietnam veterans slaughtered innocent villagers. They learned that Vietnam veterans are suicidal and angry, while Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from PTSD and need our help."
The film project reminds us that no matter what we may think of politics at the time, or reasons why we engaged in this conflict, these men were just trying to make it home. It's a journey to find heroes in a place where we grew up thinking, as a society, were never supposed to look.