National Museum of the U.S. Air Force (Plus a not-to-be-missed bio!)

This weekend we were able to make a quick trip to visit Andrew, who works at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH. While there we were able to tour the US Air Force Museum which is on the base. It's free and open to the public, so if you are in the area, it is very worth your time to visit!

Housed in enormous hangers, the planes are grouped in chronological order starting from some early Wright planes and through spacecraft and experimental record-setters. Put on your walking shoes, because you'll be doing covering plenty of ground as you tour these galleries: Early Year, WWII, Korean War, Southeast Asia War, and the Cold War!

You'll find aircraft to explore and simulators to try out.


Amanda tries to land the space shuttle in a simulator

Andrew was also able to get us into "the annex" which contains four former presidential airplanes including the one in which LBJ was sworn in on as he and Mrs. Kennedy flew back from Houston after the assassination of her husband. If you aren't arriving with a base employee, you can sign up for a bus which will take you to this exhibit, probably my favorite area. Unfortunately, I ran out of camera memory, so I have no pics of that area.

Whether you are into technology or history, you'll find items of interest at the museum. We were especially thrilled to see exhibits about the Doolittle Raiders, as we'd read a fascinating biography earlier this year about one of the raiders.

Jacob DeShazer (1912-2008) grew up on an Oregon farm in a Christian home, but by the time he reached adulthood, he had forsaken the faith. He joined the US Army Air Corp (forerunner to the Air Force) in 1940, and after Pearl Harbor he was recruited for a secret mission to attack Japan. As the last of the 16 planes to take off, DeShazer's plane was badly damaged and had no chance of making it into safe Chinese territory after bombing Japan. DeShazer and his crew mates were captured by the Japanese and held prisoner for the remainder of the war. Suffering torture and malnutrition, when DeShazer obtained a Bible for a few weeks, he gave himself to the Lord. There in prison, he decided he would give his life, should the Lord spare him, to serving the Japanese as a missionary. And that is what he did! The entire story is so encouraging and such a testimony of God's amazing work! Mr. DeShazer even became close friends with Mitsuo Fuchida, the man who led the raid on Pearl Harbor, and they worked together in evangelistic meetings after Fuchida also became a follower of Jesus Christ.

Back to the museum- After the war, the Doolittle Raiders met annually for reunions, and Mr. DeShazer began attending after his retirement from missionary service. Now there are only four Raiders left, and held a final reunion at Wright Pat. a few months ago. Part of each reunion involved making a toast with these special goblets, now housed at the museum. Most are turned upside down to represent the passing of those men.
Amanda and Faith look at the Doolittle goblets

To learn more about Jacob DeShazer, check out this website or this video:

If you are studying WWII (and even if you aren't!), you ought to learn about God's remarkable work through this man!


Lydia said…
Hi Anne! Could you ever do a post about best missionary biographies? We have used this YWAM series and I think it's great but I'd like to mix in some others too. My kids are 6-10 now. It's hard to know which ones might have graphic info that my kids aren't quite ready for. I have a hard time with the rhyming in the younger-age series. :) Thanks for considering! Lydia
Anne said…
I'm with you - I don't care for those rhyming biographies at all! And yes, the graphic information issue is important for younger children. I'm pretty sure I edited on the fly as I was reading the DeShazer bio during the POW cruelty sections, and I was reading to a 10 and 12 year old. (Sometimes I even do this when reading just to myself. I recently read Unbroken, another powerful WWII story, and I skimmed over some of his POW experiences, too.)

I did a post a few years ago about some church history books, but if I were to focus on biographies alone, I'd include some different titles/series. I'll try to do that soon (ish.)
Here's the link to that post:

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