By Marivir R. Montebon
Columbus – When in Ohio, a trip to Dayton, the birthplace of US aviation, is a must. It is home to the world’s largest aviation collection sitting on a sprawling 1,120,000 sq. ft. museum. The great thing is, you can see it for free.
The US Air Force Museum is one of the most interesting sites Ohio could offer. My good friend and college buddy Gilda Reynes-Cotrill and her husband David took me to the museum on a curiously warm winter Wednesday (52 deg F) of January 15, 2020. It was one of our main agenda for my five-day (long-overdue promise) visit in Ohio.
The museum, which has simulated airplane rides, commemorates (in its Southeast Asia pavilion) the infamous longest death march in WWII, the Bataan Death March. Filipino and American soldiers, estimated at 76,000, marched 65 miles towards prison camps in Bataan when Manila fell under the Japanese Imperial Army in 1942.
This war crime was considered to be greater than the 35-mile death marches to the Auschwitz camps that involved 60,000 war prisoners, mostly Jewish, and created by the Soviet forces in 1945.
Stepping into this museum was overwhelming. Right before me was the aviation portion of the colossal military might of America.
Air Force 1 planes, the Memphis Belle, the Space Shuttle, the Hanoi Taxi, the bomb that ended WWII, astronomical prowess of NASA, and many war historical memorabilia fed my love for history. The US Air Force Museum was founded in 1960 and is managed and funded by the Air Force Museum Foundation.
Travel with me through pictures, and see how the sons of Dayton, Orville and Wilbur Wright, have come a long way as the first successful inventors and builders of airplane (Wright Flyer) have flown a long way.
(Featured photo: Gilda and David Cotrill on the Hanoi Taxi, the first aircraft to land in North Vietnam in 1973 and repatriated prisoners of war from Vietnam.)
Editor’s Note: My Museum Trip is now the author’s regular page that comes out every Tuesday on OSM! Online Magazine