The Air Force Armament Museum

Miramar Beach, FL (near Destin)

Just to the west of Destin, north of Ft. Walton Beach, is Eglin Air Force Base, one of the largest air bases in the country.  Eglin is the home of the Air Armament Center and, as the focal point for all Air Force armaments, is responsible for the development, acquisition, testing, deployment and sustainment of all air-delivered weapons (i.e. bombs).  Just outside the base is the Armament Museum, with a large display of aircraft outside and a display of weapons inside.

B-17 Bomber

The B-17 Flying Fortress was one of the most widely used planes of WWII.  Used mainly in  the European theater it also saw limited use in the Pacific.  Boeing built almost 13,000 B-17s between 1936 and 1945.

B-25 Bomber

The B-25 Mitchell light bomber was used extensively in the Pacific during WWII.  This is the aircraft used in the famous Doolittle Raid over Tokyo in April of 1942.  Imagine taking off from an aircraft carrier with this plane, knowing you don’t have enough fuel to return and will hope to find a friendly landing field in China after dropping your bombs on Tokyo!  This is also the plane Louis Zamperini was in when it crashed in the Pacific during the war, as told in the book Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption.  If you haven’t read this book, do so!

B-52

The B-52 Stratofortress is a long-range, subsonic, jet-powered strategic bomber used by the Air Force since the early 1950s.  The B-52 marked its 50th anniversary of continuous service in 2005 and after being upgraded between 2013 and 2015 it will serve into the 2040s.  We wished our friend, Larry Weinberg, was with us during our visit to the museum as he flew as a navigator on a B-52 for well over a hundred years (0k, maybe a few years less than that, but who knows?) and could have told us more about this huge aircraft.

One wing of a B-52!

We were fortunate during our visit to observe what appears to be a handsome, young pilot completing training on an A-10 Warthog trainer!

A-10 Warthog Trainer

Also on display is one of the earliest simulators invented by Edward Link while experimenting in his family’s organ factory in Binghamton, NY in the early 1930s.

Link C-3 Trainer

Early versions of Link’s “Blue Box” were sold as amusement park rides before instrument flying was given serious consideration.  In the spring of 1934 Link scheduled a meeting with officials from the Army Air Corps  to convince them that his concept was valuable for flight training.  While flying his own plan to Alabama, he experienced weather conditions unacceptable for visual flight.  Relying solely on instrument training from his blue box, he landed the plane successfully, impressing the Air Corps so much they soon purchased six of the trainers.  The trainer became so valuable to the Air corps during WWII that they purchased over ten thousand of these C-series models.

One more week in sunny Florida (we’ve been in the state since early December) then north toward Pennsylvania.  The weather better improve or we’ll have to re-evaluate our timetable as it snowed in the western part of the state yesterday and was cool and rainy in the east!

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4 Responses to The Air Force Armament Museum

  1. Marsha says:

    I didn’t know this was down there. What an awesome Air Force Museum!
    I would not and could not ever fly something that I knew didn’t have enough fuel. We read about and saw these planes at another museum. Takes a ton of guts to do that job…NO WAY HO0000000-SA!
    Pam…you look like a midget compared to the B-52. Such a little thing you are! Good girl, Dr. Pam, for wearing your wrist brace! Very proud of you!
    That handsome, young pilot better get a helmet on the next time he goes flying!
    Right now I would re-evaluate your timetable. DO NOT come up here yet….REPEAT…DO NOT come up here yet! This is not a recording. It is a human being who is trying to survive in 46 degree weather who is used to 85 degrees every day telling you it is COLD and WINDY!

  2. Deb says:

    I read UNBROKEN, and found it to be fascinating. At first, all the technical info about planes bored me silly, but I got it later. He was probably one of those kids in class that we checked the absentee for every day! What a story.

    About the weather… could you bottle a little warmth and send it on up our way? As I sit here typing this at 3:49 in the PM, I have my coat on (still), trying to steel myself to go over and vote. By the way, that brings up a question. Where are you guys registered to vote? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Looking forward to your arrival north of the Mason Dixon Line,
    Deb

    • placestheygo says:

      Truth be known, we are not currently registered! I’ve voted in every presidential election since Rutherford B. Hayes robbed Tilden in 1876 so registration is on our list when we get to York. Our address is at Jessica’s house in West York so that’s where we’ll be registering and will use an absentee ballot in November.

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