Just inside the museum entrance, you are riveted to your bench in a World War II Quonset hut. The grainy movies on the screen do not feature John Wayne heroics but actual aerial combat filmed by gun cameras on both sides of the European skies and, later, the American armada returning.
Imposingly named the “Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum” this powerful experience actually flies under the interstate radar to emerge from a shady cove outside Savannah, Ga.
In the combat rotunda you meet the pride of the collection, a restored B-17G as it would appear while holding a level bomb run. Soaring above is an attacking enemy ME-109.
Perhaps because the collection is so single-minded, it succeeds overwhelmingly to immortalize the flight and ground crews that lifted off from southern England to pummel the Nazi war machine.
There are of course sideshows.
--Intercom talk such as “This ain’t no fun” and “There goes the whole nine yards” signifying an empty ammo belt.
--A diorama of the home of the 401st Bomb Group in East Anglia.
--Ray-Ban sunglasses and case exactly the same as today’s model.
--The actual nose section of a B-24.
--A “Ploesti diorama” commemorating the daring 2,400 mile flight of 200 B-24s across the continent to cut Hitler’s oil supply in half.
--Replica of a German Stalag Luft showing the downed airmen’s living conditions.