On January 28, 1942, fifty-three days after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, the 8th Air Force was officially activated in the National Guard Armory on Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia.
In 1983, Major General Lewis E. Lyle, USAF Retired, a B-17 veteran of 70 combat missions during World War II, and with the help of other veterans, began planning a museum. The Museum would honor the men and women who helped defeat Nazi aggression by serving in or supporting the greatest air armada the world had ever seen—the 8th Air Force. These individuals pledged themselves to honor the courage and commitment of more than 350,000 members of the 8th Air Force. Of this number, 26,000 were killed in action and 28,000 became prisoners of war during World War II.
Museum planners traveled throughout the United States and Europe, visiting museums and talking with staff from these institutions. The very best elements found among these facilities were then combined to create a dramatic 90,000-square foot museum complex.
On May 14, 1996, to the applause of 5,000 8th Air Force veterans, their families, dignitaries, and supporters, the vision became a reality with the dedication of The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in Pooler, Georgia, just west of Savannah.
The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is one of the world’s most powerful Museum experiences as it honors the Mighty Eighth’s proud legacy by preserving the stories of courage, character and patriotism displayed by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from World War II to present.