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August/September 2023
Museum Receives Two Amazing Donations

Museum President and CEO Bill Klaers said the Museum has been given "the largest privately held collection of World War II manuals and books." Included are autographs of thousands of WWII aces from many countries, and more than 1,000 of the 1,297 American aces.

He said a section of the planned second half of the Kaija Raven Shook Aeronautical Pavilion at the Colorado Springs Airport will be devoted to the lifelong collection of WWII historian and author William Wolf of Fountain Hills, Arizona. The collection will be moved to Colorado Springs in October.

A generous donation by the Pilots of World War II group, which is disbanding after 38 years, will help lower the cost of transporting the huge collection from Arizona to Colorado, Klaers said during a September 16 presentation to a WestPac hangar packed with visitors.

"Thank you very much for being faithful to your Pilot friends and comrades all these years," said the group's secretary and newsletter editor in a final message to the group. "And for each of those first-person astonishing, and horrifying, but also heart-wrenching and amazingly funny and enduring stories of your experiences! These treasured memories that time cannot steal."

Cathy Mitchell said in an April 30 "Hail and Farewell" message to "Our Treasured Members and Associates" that "There were a number of organizational 'name' changes for our group over the last 38 years, but the membership never really was anything but ARMY AIR CORPS PILOTS OF WWII, serving in every area of the globe worldwide. You helped save mankind's civilizations, at a terrific price," Cathy Mitchell wrote. "Our pilot membership has declined as our members take their Final Flight, although we still have 102 paying dues and another 26 next-generation/ family or associate members. All are approaching the century mark! The Board members too are loyal, and aging. The Reunions this group once enjoyed ceased because of COVID, as well as travel difficulties. We are proud our tight knit Brotherhood has stood the test of time via those reunions and the Poopsheet newsletter!”

"A bittersweet decision," Mitchell continued. "Once the final bills are paid, the remaining monies in the treasury will be donated to the National Museum of WWII Aviation in Colorado

Klaers said the Pilots of World War II group will be formally associated with one part of the collection coming from Arizona in October -- the autographs of thousands of WWII aces.

The recognition helps fulfill a Museum goal of maintaining public awareness of the contributions of such groups, even as they disband.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Battle of Britain Day
September 15 is remembered each year in Britain as Battle of Britain Day. It commemorates the air battle that took place, mainly over southern England, during the summer and autumn of 1940.
With the fall of France in June 1940, Europe was dominated by Germany’s Wehrmacht and its Italian ally. Britain’s expeditionary force in Belgium and France had been evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk as the fall of France was imminent. Germany’s overtures to Britain for a peace on its terms were soundly rebuffed.
Hitler charged his military with commencing an air campaign against Britain and planning for an invasion if it could be done cheaply. Although the Royal Air Force (RAF) was initially outnumbered, the combination of an excellent air command and control system, iconic Spitfire and Hurricane fighter aircraft, and pilots fighting over Britain eventually made the cost of the campaign too high for Germany; they instead turned to a submarine campaign to blockade Britain and try to starve it out of the war. Some 2,900 airmen from fifteen nations, including a few from the U.S., took part in the battle on the British side.
But it took much more than pilots and aircraft to carry the day. RAF Fighter Command’s integrated command and control system, known later as “the Dowding System” after the Head of Fighter Command, Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding, was a key to the victory.
Air defense information flowed from Britain’s new Chain Home radar early warning system, a network of 21 stations around south and east Britain, to Fighter Command headquarters near London. Chain Home could identify Luftwaffe aircraft as they were forming up across the English Channel. A complimentary radar system, Chain Home Low, provided warning of low-level attacks. Britain’s Observer Corps additionally provided information on attacking aircraft types and numbers.
Attack information was distributed to the four fighter groups defending the country – 10 Group covering the west, 11 Group in the Southeast (including London), 12 Group covering farther north, and 13 Group protecting Scotland and Northern Ireland. Each group had an underground operations center and was sub-divided into sectors with their own operations centers. Operations rooms at group and sector level provided a comprehensive plot of area air activity. Group and sector controllers were able to direct RAF aircraft, which were fitted with an Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) device, to locations under threat.
The Battle of Britain campaign did not end abruptly. Rather, it evolved into attacks, mostly at night, against British cities, particularly London. It was termed “The Blitz”, and it continued until the spring of 1941. Some 50,000 civilians perished during The Blitz.
Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
Nanchang Pilot Carl Benda Passes
Museum friend and pilot Carl Benda passed away on August 5, 2023, when his Nanchang
CJ-6A crashed near Meadow Lake airport, northeast of Colorado Springs.

The following words are from his good friend and museum volunteer Ian Wayman.
I just want you to know a little about my friend Carl Benda.
I was renting a hangar at Meadow Lake airport about 9 years ago when I met Carl. He had a hangar just across from mine where he kept a Sonex project that had not been finished which he was working on. Often, he would come over to my hangar, or I to his, and we would chat over a beer or two. Because I had just lost my house and hangar at the airport in a divorce, I would often BBQ some bratwurst or burgers at my hangar and invite him over. We got to be good friends; he was always ready to lend a hand to help me.
Carl was a very strong Christian. In fact, he apparently filled in as Pastor at the church he was attending when they did not have a Pastor for a while. 
He got his Sonex going and was flying it around and put a turbo charger in it. He also then got a Cessna 175 with the GO-300 engine and flew that around until he had engine troubles and decided to install a Franklin engine conversion on it.
Carl went to A&P school near Jeffco (Rocky Mountain Metro) where he met his classmate and friend’s sister Sherrie. He told me when he met her that she was the girl he was gonna marry! And indeed he did. 
Carl was working as an A&P at Centennial airport when he realized he could not support a family on the wages he was getting. He started building gates for people’s driveways and such, which morphed into him doing automatic pedestrian doors. He then started his Automatic Access business and had been working very hard at it since.
Carl was a very hard worker and got things done like nobody I know. He did not have anything handed to him; he worked very hard to get where he was.
Carl started life on the “south side of the tracks” and had a very tough childhood. His Dad died of Lou Gehrig’s disease when he was pretty young, and his Mom was an alcoholic. Carl had many step-dads and went to many different schools as a kid. He and his brother learned that if they did not want to be picked on as the new kids in the school, that they should befriend the underdog kid and find out who the toughest kid in the school was, then go kick his ***. They never got picked on from then on.
Carl wanted to improve his flying and was looking at pilot porn (Barnstormers and Trade-a-Plane) when he saw a Nanchang for sale out in Redmond/Bend, Oregon. He and my son Iain flew out in my Dad’s Bonanza to look it over. Carl liked it, so I jumped on an airline and headed out to help him fly it back since I had previous Nanchang flying experience.

Carl was very generous and would let Iain and I fly his Nanchang. In fact my son got his formation wing card in Carl’s Nanchang before either of us got it!
Carl was very smart and would study anything he was interested in, including Nanchangs. When a local airport guy talked with Carl about a Nanchang his friends’ estate was trying to sell, and getting nothing but lowball offers, Carl offered a price sight unseen. Well, 6 or so months later the guy asked Carl if his offer still stood; it did, and before he knew it Carl now had two Nanchangs!
My son and I were lucky because Carl was generous and let us fly his first Nanchang for a long time. We would go to fly-ins, formation clinics, and lots of local formation flying fun. But eventually Carl couldn’t justify owning two Nanchangs, so he offered to sell me his first one at a price I could not refuse. He continued to help me with maintenance and advice on it, until the very end.
Carl and Ian graced the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow with their Checker Chang and Dragon Chang aircraft.
Aleutian Campaign: The Forgotten Battle
Japan's 1942 invasion of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutian Islands chain in the then-U.S. territory of Alaska sparked a year-long effort by the U.S. and Canada to eject the Japanese troops. The invasion force was small but the remoteness of the islands and challenges of weather and terrain delayed the Allied response.

American and Canadian troops landed on Attu on May 11, 1943. Finally, on May 30, 1943, after one of the bloodiest but least-known battles of World War II, the Japanese were defeated.
It was a different story on Kiska. When Allied troops landed there on August 15, 1943, following 18 days of heavy shelling by U.S. Navy ships, they were surprised to find that the Japanese had already left.

Docent and U.S. Air Force veteran Don Miles traced the campaign in a special presentation at the Museum on June 10. The presentation was followed by a flight demonstration of our PBY Catalina, a type that played a significant role in the Aleutian campaign.

Miles outlined the twists and turns of what has become known as "The Forgotten Battle" and “The Thousand-Mile War."

The Aleutians, stretching 1,200 miles west from the Alaskan Peninsula, "are closer to Tokyo than they are to Seattle," Miles said to an audience of several hundred in the WestPac hangar. "Attu is closer to the Kuril Islands of Japan than it is to Anchorage."

The Aleutians may be isolated – 2,600 miles from Pearl Harbor for example -- but, as World War II approached, they were also understood to have strategic value. In 1935, General Billy Mitchell predicted that “the invasion of the United States by Japan would come through the Aleutian Islands," Miles said.

In fact, he said, the area is "the strategic crossroads of the world.” During World War II, “Alaska became critical to delivery of Lend-Lease aircraft" to Siberia in the Soviet Union. "Alaska also has several deepwater ports, abundant natural resources," many of which the Japanese could have used had they succeeded in first taking Attu and Kiska.
As attention was focusing on German advances in Europe, Japanese planners foresaw an empire of their own, with anchor points in the South Pacific, in mid-Pacific at Midway Island, and in the Aleutians. Plans to secure Midway and the Aleutians firmed up after the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Miles said.

Thus, in mid-1942, Japan launched simultaneous attacks on Midway and the Aleutians. The goal was to take Attu and Kiska, as well as Adak Island, Miles said. The first move was to hit Dutch Harbor, at the tip of Alaska, where the U.S. had a concentration of military forces.

But, thanks to American codebreakers, who knew that the attack on Midway was coming -- and were given much of the credit for the ultimate American victory there -- the U.S. also knew that an attack would come in the Aleutians, Miles said.

On June 1, 1942, a PBY sighted Japanese strike group about 400 miles from Dutch Harbor. But heavy fog allowed only spotty visuals, and Japanese carrier-based planes hit Dutch Harbor and nearby Fort Mears without warning on June 3. Damage was minimal, but the attack did kill 35 of the 6,282 American soldiers at Dutch Harbor. Most of the 35 were new arrivals and unfamiliar with shelter locations, Miles said.

The Japanese struck a second time that day and again on June 4, killing 8 American soldiers. Ultimately 41 Americans were killed in the two attacks and 50 more were wounded. U.S. fighters at a secret base on Umnak Island never got the word about the Japanese attack because of a communications failure, and fighters at Cold Bay were too far away to intercept the attacking Japanese, Miles said.

Ground fire from Dutch Harbor successfully downed five Japanese Kate dive bombers and two Zeroes; one of the Zeroes wound up crash-landing on Akutan Island. It was spotted by a PBY, recovered by U.S. forces, and sent to San Diego, where it was repaired and flown against American fighters to determine how best to oppose it in aerial combat.

"Two days after the attack on Dutch Harbor, the Japanese landed 1,700 troops on Kiska and Attu islands," Miles said. "The original plan had been also to land on Adak Island, but the Japanese troop commander discarded that idea since he didn't feel he had enough forces to occupy and hold three islands."

The U.S. responded to the Kiska invasion with a three-day, round-the-clock bombing campaign by heavy bombers that became known as the Kiska Blitz. PBYs participated, looking for holes in the clouds and diving through them to bomb targets. "The crews were doing four-handed pull-outs" and the wings of at least one (PBY) came off, Miles said.
Two months after the Dutch Harbor attack, the U.S. established a new base on Adak, 250 miles from Kiska and within range of B-25 Mitchell and B-26 Marauder medium bombers. As Attu was now just 430 miles away, it was within easy reach of heavy bombers and the long-range P-38 Lightning fighter.

"Despite the continued bombing by the U.S., little would change over the next eight months," Miles said.

By the end of October 1942, the Japanese moved most of its garrison from Kiska to Attu.

On May 11, 1943, the U.S. began Operation Landcrab, the re-capture of Attu. After Japanese troops were trapped on a small hillside, they charged in a banzai attack on May 30, 1943. Some reached the American rear echelon, but Japanese losses were high and the battle was effectively over on that day. Total losses at Attu included 2,872 Japanese and 549 Americans.

After the defeat, the Japanese began planning their evacuation of Kiska. On July 28, 1943, all 5,000 Japanese troops were evacuated in just 50 minutes. "The U.S. didn't have a clue that the Japanese had left Kiska," Miles said. In Operation Cottage, the largest military operation in the Aleutians, an Allied force of 34,000 men stormed ashore -- to find the Japanese gone.

The war in the Aleutians was over, but the U.S. started a propaganda campaign to make the Japanese believe they would be attacked from the Aleutians, Miles said. To reinforce the campaign, the U.S. pressed attacks on the Kuril Islands north of Japan. In September 1943, it launched an attack on a target in the Kurils. Eight B-24s and 12 B-25s participated, but it was “a disaster," Miles said. "Only five of the B-24s and five of the B-25s returned -- a fifty-percent loss."

But, he said, the propaganda campaign was successful. "Japanese concern about an attack from Alaska helped the U.S. take Guam and the Mariana islands, which the U.S. would go on to use" as bases for B-29 attacks on Japan.

"On February 11, 1945, at the Yalta Conference," Miles said, "President Roosevelt agreed that the Kuril Islands should go to the Soviet Union in exchange for their entry into the war against Japan."

The price of war in the Aleutians was high, he said. Japan lost 3,500 troops; the Allies lost 1,000, mostly in the invasion of Attu. 225 Allied aircraft were lost, only 41 of which were lost in combat. The U.S. sank eight Japanese transports and three destroyers, and damaged another three destroyers.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
A Surprising Find in Colorado
This piece of coral fell out of our relic P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt -- ultimately slated for restoration to flying condition -- as it was being moved from its display location in the Pavilion to the WestPac hangar on Saturday, September 16, 2023, for a presentation. Coral is definitely not something you usually find on the ground in Colorado!

The presentation, which included an always crowd-pleasing demonstration flight by our airworthy Thunderbolt, was about Neal Kearby and the 348th Fighter Group's Thunderbolts at Finschafen, New Guinea, and other locations. In 1943, our relic Thunderbolt was assigned to the 348th at Finschafen; after being written off, it was buried there with other wrecks before being recovered in 1990. The single runway at Finschafen was made of -- you guessed it -- steel matting over coral.

This piece of coral was one of several discovered as the fuselage was moved.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Have You Seen Our Great YouTube Channel Videos?
The Museum’s YouTube channel highlights many aspects our collection of 29 operational planes, more than 100 displays and exhibits, and the volunteers who make it all happen!

You'll see our planes flying in several venues, like the popular public presentations that detail major events of World War II. You'll zoom in on displays and exhibits designed to broaden understanding of the war. And you'll meet our extraordinary volunteers -- and of course the pilots who fly the planes!

Our current video list includes:

- The B-25 Air Apaches
- The Battle for the Aleutian Islands (has over 5,000 views!)
- The Battle of the Atlantic
- The Battle of the Philippine Sea (has over 21,000 views!)
- The N3N Flight Simulator

Battle of Britain: Barbara Saks Was There
On September 15, 1940, the Luftwaffe embarked on an all-out attack against London to lure the Royal Air Force (RAF) into a climactic air battle. Around 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles, which lasted until dusk; the Luftwaffe experienced huge losses, and the frequency and intensity of attacks on England diminished afterwards. Hitler postponed plans for the invasion of Britain and turned to planning the invasion of the Soviet Union. Air attacks against British cities would continue, but the threat of invasion was over.

Battle of Britain Day, September 15, is now an annual commemoration of the battle in the U.K. In Canada, it takes place on the third Sunday of September.

Success in the battle was due to three primary factors – the newly invented British radar system that provided early warning of Luftwaffe attacks, the RAF fighter force of Spitfire and Hurricane fighters and the brave young men that flew them, and the British penetration of secret German military communications enciphered by German machines known as Enigma. Also important was the antiaircraft system the British had fielded to protect important cities and military facilities.

And Barbara Saks was there.

In 2015, the Museum was honored to welcome the then-97-year-old Colorado Springs resident who during the war worked at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, England, where the Enigma code was broken in 1939. Barbara M. (Brown) Saks passed away at age 98 on January 11, 2016.

Following is a story about Ms. Saks' visit to the Museum that first ran in our newsletter in the spring of 2015:

Responding to questions from Docents Gene Pfeffer and Rich Tuttle before an audience of about 150 on March 7, 2015, Ms. Saks traced her career as a section officer (Lieutenant) in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF). She enlisted in the WAAF in 1940 and initially was assigned to Royal Air Force station Kirton-in-Lindsey in Lincolnshire, where she worked as a plotter of German air raids on England.

She was on duty Sunday, September 15, 1940, when the Luftwaffe launched two massive raids on London. Germany assumed the RAF was near the breaking point in the aerial battle which had been underway since August 13.
"That morning, although I didn't know it at that time, the information came from Bletchley that there was a second wave of bombers and fighters coming over, bigger than the first," Saks said. "So an SOS went out over Britain. Every available pilot and plane were to report to the South [of England]. So we scrambled our squadrons and they went off. And that morning, the RAF pilots shot down 186 German planes.... It was my 23rd birthday."

Saks had wanted to get into intelligence, but the field was closed to women in the summer of 1940. When it finally opened up again in January of 1943, she left Kirton for an Officer Cadet Training Unit at Bowness-on-Windermere in the Lake District of England. She and 17 others passed the course and were posted to London for a two-week intelligence course.

During the course, they were told that "six girls" would be interviewed "for a hush-hush job that they could tell us nothing about, but if we were chosen to please say yes because the country needs us." Saks said one of the candidates, who seemed to know everything, said, "if it's Bletchley Park and I'm chosen, I'm going to say no whether the country needs me or not."

The interview was conducted by two men -- "a beautiful Brigadier" from the War Office who was "tall [and] soldierly" with "a lovely creamy mustache and creamy, curly, wavy hair under his cap," and a "short and dumpy" RAF Air Vice Marshal.

Four candidates were quickly turned down. Saks and another, named Susan, entered Bletchley Park the next morning. They were taken to a plain white wooden structure called "Hut 3," where they met the Brigadier again. This time he was in civilian clothes -- "a navy-blue serge jacket with leather around the edge of the cuffs" and leather patches on the elbows.

At one point, Susan mentioned her Hungarian fiancee. "Wow!" said Saks. The Brigadier "shut her up with a peremptory wave of his hand. There were three telephones on his desk, a hunter green, a cream and a red. He picked up the hunter green, spoke into it for half a minute, and the next thing we knew there were guards at the door and they whisked Susan away and she was never heard of again."

In the early days of the war, codes were broken and translated in the big Bletchley Park mansion itself. As more and more people were assigned, 23 small wooden "Huts" were built and eight larger brick "Blocks" followed. By war's end some 10,000 people worked at Bletchley Park. All were sworn never to speak of what they did. But with publication of a book in 1974, "The Ultra Secret" by F.W. Winterbotham, a Bletchley insider, the word was out.

"I started off in Bletchley in what they called the German section," where work was done on Luftwaffe and Wehrmacht codes, Saks said. "By the time I got there on the Monday after Susan disappeared," this work was being carried out in Block D, which was "a long corridor" with "six wings going off alternately on each side." She and other workers were in a small room "on the first wing going off to the left."

"We worked around the clock, eight hours at a time." In the corridor wall of the small room, "there was a little wooden hatch" which would "rise up, and a hand pushed a message through.... Whoever wasn't doing anything jumped up" and took the message, which contained groups of five numbers. "We translated the five numbers into five letters, and we were on our honor not to stop and put the letters together to make words. I wish I had read just one, but I didn't. I was very honorable."

"You put the message in a chicken-wire basket" and pushed a button which "buzzed somewhere, and about four or five minutes later the door opened about six inches and a hand came in and whisked the message away to who knows where. We never knew. We didn't dare, and nobody would have told us anyway, had we asked." She found out later that the messages often went directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

"But that's what I was doing all the time," she said. "It was quite a busy thing...and in that top secret holy of holies, on our door we had a large notice, 'Top Secret, Keep Out.' I mean, anybody wanting to know a secret would make a beeline for that door."

Ms. Saks’ obituary, published by the Colorado Springs Gazette, can be read here:

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Great Time Had at Museum Volunteer Appreciation Day 2023
Although it started off overcast with forecast afternoon storms threatening to put a damper on festivities, the Colorado Springs forecast was, naturally, completely wrong as the skies turned blue for the museum’s 2023 Volunteer Appreciation Day held on Saturday, August 26.

The life blood of the museum, working everything from security to sales, the museum’s 240+ volunteers were honored by President and CEO Bill Klaers with a day of recognition. Over 100 volunteers were treated to a ride in one of three of the museum’s aircraft; the North American B-25J Mitchell, General Motors TBM-3E Avenger, and Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina.

Of course those flights couldn’t have taken place without the aid of a small army of volunteers who worked throughout the day to coordinate aircraft marshalling, refueling, piloting, and crew chiefing.
Behind the scenes another group was busy setting up the WestPac hangar for the evening’s dinner, with enough tables, chairs, decorations, settings, aircraft, food, and drinks for everyone. Catered by Rudy’s BBQ and highlighted by Debi Klaers giving her best attempt at hula hooping, a fun evening of food, fun and friends was had by all.

Story and Photo Credit: George White
Brewster F3A-1 Corsair? Don't You Mean Vought F4U-4?
If there's one response and one question that we get whenever we post a picture of the Museum's F3A-1 Corsair to social media, it's "Don't you mean F4U-4?" (because yes, obviously we don't know our own aircraft) and "What's the difference between them?"
The U.S. Navy in WWII needed more F4Us and Vought was so busy building other aircraft types that it couldn't meet the demand. So, in November 1941, Brewster and Goodyear were contracted to build the Corsairs that Vought couldn't handle. While Brewster's Corsairs were called F3As, Goodyear's were FGs. Altogether, Vought, Brewster and Goodyear built more than 12,500 Corsairs from 1942 until the end of production in 1952.
The quality of Brewster's Corsairs was deficient and Brewster had labor problems that slowed delivery, so the Navy canceled its contract. Brewster built 735 F3As in total, 430 of which went to the British Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. No U.S. F3A saw combat; they were used only for training.
The Museum's F3A-1 crashed on December 19, 1944, near Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, while on a Ground Controlled Intercept training mission. The pilot bailed out but was killed. The aircraft was salvaged in 1999, underwent a seven-year restoration, and is now part of the Museum's collection. It is the world's only F3A, and it is airworthy! There are minor differences between the three types, but they are basically the same aircraft.
Two Corsair fighters are sometimes seen on the Museum campus at Colorado Springs Airport. One is the Museum's own Brewster F3A-1, distinguishable by its three-bladed propeller and light blue and white color scheme. The other is a Vought F4U-4 that's owned and flown by Jim Tobul of Jackson, Wyoming, and is named "Korean War Hero." Tobul flies it at air shows (including the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow!) all over North America and brings it to the Museum regularly for maintenance.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Plane Pull Raises Money for Special Olympics
Photos show one of the Museum’s two teams at the Special Olympics Colorado Plane Pull event at the Museum on Saturday, September 9. In the fund-raising event -- "Pulling for a Purpose," presented by United Airlines and hosted by the Museum -- 18 teams of 10 people each in several categories competed to pull the 25,000-pound PBY Catalina 20 feet across the ramp in the fastest time.

One of our teams clocked in at 8.209 seconds and the other at 8.794 seconds. Team Kristine Brehmer was fastest with a time of 6.999 seconds. A good time was had by all!

Story and Photo Credit: Rich Tuttle
Send Us Your Best Shot!
Zachary Lulay, 17, of Parker, Colorado, shot this photo of the Museum’s Douglas AD-5 Skyraider at our July 4 event, just as the afternoon weather rolled in. “This was taken as we started putting away airplanes because if the storm”, he said. “You can see the pushcart in the background.”

Great picture, Zachary!
We know that folks LOVE taking pictures of their favorite Museum airplanes, displays and events, and especially love to show off their best shots! Here's your chance to get that favorite photo in the newsletter for all to see, and it's as easy as emailing it in. Here are the rules:

1. Photo must be of a National Museum of World War II Aviation airplane, display or event

2. There's no age limit to entrants; if you're old enough to take a photo, you're old enough to enter!

3. Photo entry must include name, age and city of the photographer; when the photo was taken; and what event it was taken at. For example: Kanan Jarrus, 33, Manitou Springs, May 2023 Battle of the Philippine Sea presentation. If you'd like to include any other information about your photo, please do!

4. Photo must be a good quality digital .jpeg or .png file; the higher the resolution the better

5. Photo can be horizontal or vertical format, color or monochrome, untouched or processed; get creative!

6. Photos cannot contain inappropriate wording or images on clothing

7. If photos utilize a model, an appropriate model release form must be provided

8. One entry per person, per month. Send us your best shot!

8. Deadline for entry is 12:00 p.m. MST on the 20th of each month

9. The Museum Newsletter Team (that's our smiling mugs down below) will choose the winner. Between the four of us we have something like 175 years of experience in the writing, photography and publication business; we know a good photo when we see it!

10. The winning photographer will be requested to fill out a Museum Photo Release Form and return it. There is no monetary compensation or other prize, but we think you'll be pretty proud to have your photo shown to over 4K+ newsletter subscribers!

Email your photos (and any questions) to us at Don't forget, the entry deadline is the 20th of each month!
First-Person Account of an Attack on a
Japanese Base in the Kuril Islands
Editor's Note: In September 1943, during World War II in the Aleutian Islands, the U.S. launched eight B-24 Liberators and twelve B-25 Mitchells against a Japanese position in the Kuril Islands. Losses were heavy (see preceding Aleutian Islands story). Here is an account of the attack by a crewmember of one of the B-25s, First Lieutenant Elmer P. Scalet of the 77th Bombardment Squadron.

…On September 11, 1943, I went on Temple’s [1st Lt M.I. Temple] crew as Navigator on the deck level raid on Paramushiru Straits [in the northern portion of the Kuril Islands chain]. Twelve planes took off [from Amchitka, Alaska], one of which later turned back because of mechanical trouble.

We sighted [the] Kamchatka [Peninsula] about 30 miles south of Petropavlovsk. After flying parallel to the coast for a short while we parted company with the B-24’s who proceeded south while we turned west. We flew into the Sea of Okhotsk until we were lined up with the Strait and then turned due south.

We were now flying on the water and the roar of the engines made any kind of conversation almost impossible.
We were now a flight leader since Major Hudelson had turned back. Our five planes were to fly along the south shore of the Strait about 30 seconds after the other flight went by the north shore.

The coast line of Shimushu and Paramushiru were now visible as was a column of smoke caused by the B-24’s who had gone through a few minutes before. I was riding in the nose of our plane, which had five fixed guns and to be sure that all guns fired they were continuously charged. I also had with me my own camera. We were now within range of their larger guns and black umbrellas were appearing in ever increasing numbers.

Any hope we might have had of pulling a surprise attack were soon gone. The water seemed full of small craft all of which seemed determined of shooting down our particular plane.

We were now in the Strait and all semblance of a formation was gone. Temple was now putting the plane through violent evasive action although it seemed impossible to escape being hit—I heard someone shout over the inter phone to look left and glancing that way beheld a black cloud; all that was left of one B-25.

To our right in a little bay (Kashiwabara Wan) we saw 3 large cargo ships. Temple picked out the biggest, made 3 direct hits and as we skidded around a mountain, we saw it belch out fire and smoke. As we emerged from the Strait, two cruisers lying at anchor ahead and to the right of us opened fire.

All this time I had been busy keeping the guns going and snapping pictures and damning myself for ever insisting on coming on this particular mission. We were indicating about 260 m.p.h. but even so we were the last plane out of the Strait. The last plane to pass us was Berecz [1st Lt. Albert W.] who went by us on one engine leaving a trail of smoke. He crashed a few minutes later exploding upon contact with the water.

There were only 3 planes in sight and our defensive formation was conspicuous by its absence.

A Zeke (Japanese Zero) made a diving pass at us from 10 o’clock passing within a hundred feet of our plane. I could see his tracers chopping the water coming closer to our plane but just when it appeared that we would pass through his fire he ceased firing. Temple tried to get on his tail as the Zeke pulled away but before we could turn over 30 degrees, the damned Jap was on our tail hammering away. About two more passes were made at us but they did not approach too close, and they soon dropped behind. It was now 1430W—we had been under fire for a total of about 20 minutes although it seemed like a lifetime.
Checking on our remaining gas we found that we had 435 gallons remaining. We also had a 25MPH tail wind so we decided to try and make our base. Two other planes were on our wing but they both turned towards the alternate base.

We turned towards home 4 hours away with 4.5 hours gas available. Everything moveable was jettisoned including the parachutes in order to make the plane lighter. We kept our eyes glued on the white caps for with any wind shift we knew we would be unable to get back. Half way back we intercepted three B-24’s who were 25 degrees off course so they followed us in.

To top matters off, the weather turned bad. The first land sighted was Murder Point [on the southeast coast of Attu Island, in the Aleutians] and what a relief it was for by now the visibility had dropped to less than 2 miles. We landed at 1820 over ten hours after we took off. A few minutes later three more planes came in making a total of four who returned out of the 11 which started through the Straits. On our side of the ledger, we chalked up three cargo ships sunk and several smaller craft damaged.

A fitting climax was that the roll of film I had exposed was ruined by the person developing it so that I didn’t get a single picture of the raid.
First Flight of the T-28 Trojan
The first flight of the North American XT-28 trainer took place on September 24, 1949. U.S. Air Force flight tests of the T-28, designed to replace North American's AT-6 trainer of World War II, began in June of 1950. A total of 1,948 T-28s were ultimately built between 1949 and 1963 at the company's plants in Inglewood and Downey, California. Two hundred and ninety-nine of these, designated T-28C, were delivered to the U.S. Navy. In addition to its use as a trainer, the T-28 was successfully employed as a counter-insurgency aircraft during the Vietnam War. See our T-28 when you visit the Museum at the Colorado Springs Airport!

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Photo Credit: George White
Upcoming Events
Join us for our final scheduled demonstration flight day of the year!

Special Presentation -- The Battle for Guadalcanal

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Museum opens 8:00 a.m.
Presentation 9:00 a.m.

SBD Dauntless Demonstration Flight Following the Presentation (Weather Permitting)

The Guadalcanal campaign that commenced on August 7, 1942, began with the landing of the 1st Marine Division on the Japanese-occupied island; it was the first offensive action against the Japanese in the southwest Pacific.

Japan wanted Guadalcanal as a base for its long-range bombers to control the sea lanes from the United States to Australia. After the victories at the Coral Sea and Midway, the U.S. commanders believed Guadalcanal was the place to stop the Japanese. It was a difficult campaign under extreme tropical conditions where weather and disease impacted both sides. The eventual victory there in February 1943 began the long march to Tokyo.

U.S. air power played the key role in the ultimate victory. Japanese air power attempted to drive the U.S. forces from the island while U.S. air power succeeded in limiting Japan’s ability to reinforce the island. Japanese air raids on Marine and Army positions on the island occurred continuously throughout the battle. The U.S. Navy, Marine and Army pilots who defended the island called themselves “The Cactus Air Force,” as Cactus was the codename for the island.

While there were major air and sea battles to contest the Allied blockade of Japanese supplies and reinforcements, the Battle for Guadalcanal became a battle for the island’s airfields. The Cactus Air Force of Navy and Marine F4F fighters, SBD dive bombers, and a few Army P-39s defended the airfield, attacked Japanese reinforcements, and supported Marines ashore. The Guadalcanal airfields were bombed and shelled almost daily.
During the campaign, the Cactus aircraft sank 17 Japanese ships and damaged 18 more -- battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and transports. U.S. fighters claimed 268 Japanese aircraft downed, 2.5 times the number they themselves lost. Japan also lost 30,000 experienced troops –- most to starvation and disease. After the battle, Guadalcanal became a major base for the Allied advance up the Solomons; Japan was now on the defensive.

On October 21 at 9:00 a.m., museum curator and historian Gene Pfeffer will present the story of this important battle and the role that aviation played in it.

Following the presentation, the museum’s SBD Dauntless dive bomber will conduct a flying demonstration, weather permitting.

Standard admission prices are in effect. The purchase of advance on-line tickets is encouraged and may be purchased at .
Advance ticket prices are:
Adult $15
Child (4-12) $11
Senior and Military $13
WWII Veterans - Always Free
Museum Members - Included in membership; please call 719-637-7559 or stop by the front desk to make your reservations.
And of course, parking is always Free!

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
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Newsletter Staff / Contributors

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

John Henry
Lead Volunteer for Communications

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer