Dear Friends of the Mighty Eighth,
In the month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States Army’s Eighth Air Force was established in Savannah. Less than a year later it was tasked with the defeat of the most powerful air force in the world, the German Luftwaffe. The Mighty Eighth took to the skies with the largest air armada ever assembled, flying daring daylight raids that eventually enabled the Allies to gain victory. Of the 350,000 Eighth Air Force airmen and ground personnel deployed to British airbases, 26,000 Eighth Air Force men would be killed in action, more than the entire US Marine Corps lost in all of World War II. Another 28,000 would spend years in Nazi POW camps while 2000 evaded. Since 1996, the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force has honored these courageous men and women by presenting their stories of both hardships and achievement, and displaying World War II artifacts throughout the 90,000 square foot facility.
Every day, I am grateful to have the opportunity to hear stories that highlight the impact the Museum has on people of all ages, from all over the world. I want to share with you a story that emphasizes the Museum’s success in the mission. Stories like this are the reason for our efforts to create the best exhibits to honor our World War II heroes, continue efforts to restore the B-17 to its military World War II configuration, and execute the Character Counts!® program to teach today’s children the character traits that are best exemplified by our World War II heroes. Stories such as this prove the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is a national treasure.
John Telgener, a member of the Board of Trustees, was the tour guide for a group of 5th graders from a local grade school. These students were about to leave the combat gallery when one of the boys asked, “Mr. John, are we going out into the Memorial Gardens?” John explained that their class was on a strict time schedule and there wasn’t time to tour the gardens. However, very surprised at the question, John asked the little boy why he asked. The child opened his clutched hand and showed John a partly shriveled rose that he had been holding since he boarded the bus that morning. He looked up at John and said, “My grandfather flew with the 385th Bomb Group during World War II and I was hoping to put this flower next to my grandfather’s memorial.” With emotion in his voice, John said to the little boy, “absolutely you can put that flower next to your grandfather’s memorial.” With a huge smile on his face, the little boy asked John, “would it be okay to bring my friend to show him my grandfather’s memorial.” John said, “of course you can.” The two boys quietly walked to the Memorial Gardens to honor a World War II veteran, a husband, a father, and a grandfather. The rose remained on the memorial several days later.
As we enter a new year, we continue to welcome thousands of visitors and remain dedicated to the mission of “preserving for all Americans the stories of courage, character and patriotism displayed by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from World War II to the present.” We have many projects needing your support. A total upgrade of the POW exhibit will begin this fall. New exhibits are now in the planning stage. The Museum is hosting hundreds of school administrators, teachers, and counselors during the Character Counts! ® Community Celebration seminar in October, and we continue the restoration project on the B-17, “City of Savannah.” Your donations will help make these projects, and more, a success! On behalf of all veterans we honor, students we educate, and visitors we impact, I thank you for your support. As Colonel Kermit Stevens said in his pre-mission briefings, “Bow Your Neck.”
Henry Skipper, President/CEO
For your convenience, you can make your tax-deductible donation online by clicking here.
Gifts of Honor
You may pay homage to a loved one through a gift to the general fund in honor of the loved one. This may be accomplished with a check or a phone call to the Museum. If you send a check, please note the name of the veteran or individual who is being honored on the check. Checks may be made out to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum, and mailed to PO Box 1992, Savannah, GA 31402.
Please include a note identifying the veteran and how and to whom you would like the gift acknowledged. You can also make the donation using your credit card online through our secure site or by calling 912-748-8888.
Following in the footsteps of the Eighth Air Force in World War II, the Museum is dedicated to embracing new technology. As technology continues to advance, it allows us to provide visitors with a more realistic experience of what it was actually like to be a member of the Eighth Air Force in World War II. It also allows us to produce better exhibits, to share information more freely, and to keep more thorough histories of our veterans by combining oral records with video. For an example of how the Museum is embracing technology, please view this the video conversation with Mr. Paul Grassey, one of our living heroes.