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November/December 2022
Editor's Note: Apologies for not putting out a separate November issue; Covid-19 finally caught up with me, and I was down for the count for the better part of the month! GHW
2022 Year-End Review
It's been a fantastic year here at the National Museum of World War II Aviation, and we'd like to tell you all about it!

We could start with the new addition to our roster of flying aircraft, a plane we’ve wanted for the collection, but we’ll hold that for a moment.

The headline event of 2022 was the museum’s participation in the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow. This airshow marks a new management agreement with the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation to provide administration, event management and promotion. With 28,000 in attendance, and positive comments from airshow fans, it was a significant success. Museum volunteers put more than 2,400 hours into planning and staging the airshow. Thanks to their time freely given, and the strong attendance figures, the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow funded the three recipient museums – the Peterson Air and Space Museum at Peterson SFB, the 4th Infantry Division Museum at Ft. Carson, and our museum – $20,000 each.

Our 10th Anniversary Celebration followed the airshow, and saw veterans from WWII and the Korean Conflict meet and greet the crowd of museum visitors as well as Mayor John Suthers, who launched the day on behalf of Colorado Springs. The event was filled with live song by the “Denver Dolls”, rides in our collection of WWII-era vehicles, flights of the B-25 Mitchell and T-6 Texan, and great food. A new mural depicting a scene from the London Blitz of WWII was unveiled, with the artistry of museum volunteers Tom Heaney and Jan McManus on display for all museum visitors to see.
The museum was acknowledged by Trip Advisor, the top online travel advice website, as a “BEST of the BEST,” ranking in the top one-percent of museums and attractions worldwide. The award is based on visitor reviews of the museum. It’s an accolade in which all the museum’s more than 220 volunteers share. The museum was also honored by the Colorado Springs Gazette “Best of the Springs” in its annual voting.

The museum embarked on a capital campaign to build the next planned expansion of the facility, doubling the Kaija Raven Shook Aeronautical Pavilion to 80,000 sq. ft. as we provide space for more aircraft and exhibits. Please consider making a contribution to support this expansion: .
The museum’s historical presentations and fly-days grew in attendance throughout the year. Visitors learned of several critical wartime actions including the mission to shoot down the mastermind of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, for which the P-38 Lightning was essential, and the action of the Allied air forces in support of Operation Overlord (the Normandy invasion) in defeating the German air force on the western front, isolating the beaches, protecting the landings, and aiding in the breakout from the beaches. P-47 Thunderbolts were a key part of the campaign. Museum members can attend these presentations at no cost.
The museum’s focus was deepened through the addition of ten new exhibits, providing context and information regarding such topics as planning for war, building overseas bases, deploying forces, and the Allied bombing campaigns against the Axis.
Now to the new aircraft arrival! We’re pleased to add to the collection a Boeing-Stearman Model E-75, S/N 42-17579. E-75 is the civilian registration designation for the familiar PT-13, PT-17 and PT-18 Kaydets which were the primary trainers for tens of thousands of pilots during the war.

You'll see in-person that "PT-13D" is stenciled on the fuselage forward of the cockpit on the left side. This aircraft was originally built for the U.S. Navy, but was provisioned to the US Army Air Forces and used at WWII training bases in Texas. Thanks to the generous donation by Rick James of Auburn, Indiana and the phenomenal restoration by Phil Allison, also of Auburn, the Stearman becomes the museum’s 29th flying aircraft in the collection. Come see it soon! 

There will be more news in 2023, including the return of the museum’s acclaimed primary and secondary education program, the return of the “Let ‘em fly!” days, historical presentations, and much more. Thank you for your support and enthusiasm over our first ten years!

Story Credit: John Henry
Remembering Pearl Harbor, and Beyond
We know the Japanese attacks on Hawaii, particularly the United States Navy bases at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, were a deep shock to the U.S. that led directly to American involvement in World War II. Less widely known today, the attack on Oahu 81 years ago was followed in hours by Japanese attacks on the Philippines, Guam, and Wake Island, all held by the U.S., as well as Malaya, Singapore, and Hong Kong, held by the United Kingdom.

The sheer geographic sweep of the attack on these targets by the Empire of Japan, encompassing many thousands of miles, had not been seen previously or since in modern military history.

Relations between Japan and the U.S. had been progressively worsening since 1931 when Japan invaded Manchuria and later moved into portions of mainland China. In 1940, Japan allied with Germany and Italy. In 1941, the U.S. halted petroleum shipments to Japan, on which it had been highly dependent. Later that year, the U.S. severed most commercial and financial links with Tokyo.

Japan envisioned a Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere in which Asian countries, led by Japan, would work together in a self-sustaining economic bloc free of European influence. Among other things, it would give Japan access to natural resources, such as oil, which Japan lacked.

It was an attractive idea to Japanese militarists, who knew that American and allied military forces in the Pacific were weak; it was far less attractive to the peoples they were to conquer and exploit. Attacking the American fleet at Pearl Harbor was part of a plan to open the entire region for Japanese dominance, and to sap American morale to the point that the U.S. would seek peace on Japan’s terms.
A Japanese fleet of 67 ships assembled for the attack on 200 miles north of Oahu. The fleet’s six aircraft carriers launched 353 aircraft.

On Oahu and Pearl Harbor, their attack killed 2,335 American servicemen and wounded 1,143; 68 civilians were killed and 35 were wounded. Eighteen ships were sunk or run aground, including five battleships. Three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer were either sunk or damaged. Of the 402 American aircraft in Hawaii, 188 were destroyed and 159 damaged, 155 of them on the ground. Luckily for the United States all three of the Navy’s aircraft carriers in the Pacific were, by chance, not at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese struck.

Japan made no formal declaration of war before the attack, but this was not the intention of Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who had planned it. He wanted it to begin 30 minutes after Japan told the U.S. that negotiations were over. But, because it took too long for the Japanese embassy in Washington to translate the message from Tokyo into English, it wasn’t delivered until over an hour after Japanese planes first struck. Still, the message wasn’t a declaration of war, saying only that it was “impossible to reach an agreement through further negotiations.” A formal declaration was delivered the day after the attack.

Japan’s advances after the Hawaii attacks were only halted by U.S. forces in the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway in 1942. By 1944 and 1945, Japan’s navy had been crippled and it had lost key islands in the Western Pacific. Japan surrendered on September 2, 1945.

Today, the memory of Pearl Harbor is honored to “ensure that future generations will understand the valor and legacy of those who fought throughout the war,” according to the National Park Service, which oversees the Pearl Harbor National Memorial on Oahu. It says commemorations also highlight “the importance of the peace that brought a reconciliation that continues to create a better future for all.”

Story Credit: John Henry, Rich Tuttle
Lieutenant James P. Muri Made a Bold Decision ...
On June 4, 1942, during the Battle of Midway, Lt. James P. Muri, piloting his B-26 Marauder Suzie-Q, chose a course of evasive action that he reasoned gave his crew the best chance of survival… flying straight down the flight deck of the Japanese aircraft carrier Akagi, mere feet in the air!

After releasing his torpedo against the Akagi, taking heavy fire from both ship defenses and Japanese aircraft, and with three crewmen wounded, Muri skimmed the carrier’s flight deck as a way to avoid further damage. His gamble paid off, as he successfully evaded a gauntlet of enemy fire and returned safely to Midway Atoll; an inspection of his aircraft later revealed more than 500 bullet holes!

Lt. James P. Muri (front, second from left) and crew are shown in this photo, part of an exhibit which you can visit at the Museum!

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Rosie the Riveter
The story of “Rosie the Riveter” is bigger than Rosie herself. During the war, American society changed in dramatic ways. The most important change concerned the growth of the military and the impact of that growth on society. The Armed Forces grew from a total of 370 thousand personnel in 1939 to 12 million in 1944. The twelve million, almost entirely young men, were drawn mostly by a draft lottery from a total U.S. population of 150 million. Young men were gone from the factory and the farm to fight for their country; that work force had to be made up for and increased.

It was women and minorities who stepped up to fill the vacancies. Industry had to both convert from consumer-oriented products to military equipment and to greatly increase production capacity. Women entered the workforce in large numbers. In 1940, women accounted for just 25% of workers; that increased to 30% by 1944. It wasn’t only a matter of quantity either; the kind of work women could do changed significantly. Before the war, women were mostly limited to teaching, nursing, administration and similar positions. During the war women became industrial workers building aircraft, ships, and other military hardware. Women also bolstered the agricultural workforce.

The term "Rosie the Riveter" was first used in 1942 in a song of the same name written by Redd Evans and John Jacob Loeb. The song was recorded by numerous artists, including a popular big band of the time led by Kay Kyser. Naomi Parker Fraley was the young factory worker who is now considered the most likely model for the iconic "We Can Do It!" poster. During WWII, she worked on aircraft assembly at the Naval Air Station Alameda in California. There she was photographed for a newspaper operating a machine tool; it was this widely distributed photograph which is thought to be an inspiration for the poster.

The original poster was produced in 1943. The artist, J. Howard Miller, hoped to encourage more women to take on factory work. Miller was inspired by the works of Norman Rockwell, and he used his talents to create posters and other artwork depicting the lives of the women behind the war effort. Millers’ Rosie poster was one of a series that promoted wartime production and greater productivity.
There was another “Rosie” in the media, Rose Will Monroe, who was born and raised in Kentucky. When her husband was killed in an automobile accident, she moved to Michigan with her two young children to take a job building B-24 Liberator bombers at Ford’s Willow Run aircraft assembly plant. When Monroe started at Willow Run, the facility employed 40,000 workers. A production crew came to Willow Run to shoot a short film urging the public to buy war bonds; when they heard there was a real “Rosie” working there, they wanted her to have a part in the film. After her appearance in the film, Monroe experienced some notoriety as the “real” Rosie, but she chose not to further capitalize on her fame.   

There are at least two other women who have been thought to be the “real” Rosie; Rosina "Rosie" Bonavita who worked for Convair in San Diego, California, and Rosalind P. Walter, who worked building Corsair fighters as a riveter.

The name “Rosie” became synonymous with female factory workers and their strength, skill and dedication to the war effort; even today, many former workers proudly wear their badge as a “Rosie”! 

Stroy Credit: Gene Pfeffer
A Visit to RAF Duxford
Museum Curator and Historian Gene Pfeffer recently made the pilgrimage to RAF Duxford!

One of the most storied airfields of Britain’s Royal Air Force (RAF) is Duxford. It is near the university town of Cambridge. I’ve been privileged to visit three times for the air shows now held there, and for the two major aviation museums to which it is now home.

Built in 1917 by German prisoners of war, Duxford Airfield became one of the earliest RAF stations established during the days of the Royal Flying Corps. Unlike many RAF bases which closed following WWI, Duxford remained open and was used as a training school and later a fighter station. By the late 1930’s, the reputation of RAF Duxford’s No.19 Squadron was so renowned that it became the first squadron to be equipped with the then-new Supermarine Spitfire. The first Spitfire flew into RAF Duxford in August 1938.

Duxford played several important roles during WWII. During the Battle of Britain, Duxford was the southernmost station in the area covered by 12 Group, which was responsible for the defense of the middle, eastern and some parts of northern England. At one time during the air battle both Spitfires and Hurricanes were stationed there. On average, sixty Spitfires and Hurricanes were dispersed around Duxford and another nearby field every day of the battle.
On September 15, 1940, a day often described as the climax of the Battle of Britain, the Duxford squadrons twice took to the air to repulse Luftwaffe aircraft intent on bombing London. Around 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles which lasted until dusk and resulted in the Luftwaffe experiencing large losses. The frequency and intensity of attacks subsequently diminished, and 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.

Douglas Bader, who commanded 242 Squadron at Duxford, was a multiple ace and a noted aviator; he was credited with 22 individual victories. Bader had lost both legs in an aircraft accident in the 1930s and thereafter flew with artificial legs. Bader developed the controversial tactic known as the “Big Wing”, which involved the deployment of 3-5 squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes to engage the enemy. It took time to assemble such a large force and many times German bombers had done their worst before the Big Wing fighters had engaged them.
That’s not the end of the WWII Duxford story. The airfield was transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) on April 1, 1943, becoming part of the Eighth Air Force’s VIII Fighter Command. The 78th Fighter Group arrived at Duxford in April 1943. During its time at the airfield, the 78th was first equipped with the P-47 Thunderbolt and later P-51 Mustangs. Aircraft of the group were identified by a black/white checkerboard pattern on the front of the aircraft; the National Museum of World War II Aviation’s airworthy P-47D carries this pattern in tribute to the 78th. The group flew many missions escorting 8th Air Force bombers attacking German targets in Europe. The group also supported the Normandy invasion, the breakthrough at Saint-Lô, and the Battle of the Bulge.

Nowadays, the Battle of Britain operations center at Duxford is part of the museum complex on the airfield and has been restored to what it looked like during the dramatic days of the battle. Duxford serves as a center of activity for the U.K.’s warbirds, hosting several shows throughout the flying season. It is also home to two great aviation museums, part of the Imperial War Museum’s network of museums. One, the Imperial War Museum Duxford, focuses on the history of the RAF while the other, the American Air Museum in Britain, focuses on WWII operations of the 8th and 9th Air Forces flying from Britain.

If you are a true WWII aviation enthusiast like me, visiting Duxford is a rare treat. Located only about an hour from London, it’s an absolute can’t-miss. For operating hours, directions, tickets and more, visit their website at Visit IWM Duxford - Plan Your Visit | Imperial War Museums.

Story Credit: Gene Pfeffer
Eagle Squadrons
During the early days of World War II, before the United States entered the war, American pilots volunteered to fly for the British Royal Air Force (RAF). A Museum exhibit explains that before the U.S. joined the war in December 1941, some American young men wanted to join the fight against the Axis. Charles Sweeny, a wealthy American businessman living in London, began recruiting American citizens to fight as a U.S. volunteer detachment in the French Air Force. Following the fall of France in 1940, a dozen of these recruits escaped to England and joined the RAF.
With this nucleus, three Eagle Squadrons were formed with other American recruits joining between September 1940 and July 1941, although none were operationally ready during the Battle of Britain. On September 29, 1942, they were turned over to the American Eighth Air Force of the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) and became the 4th Fighter Group.

Of the thousands that volunteered, only 244 Americans eventually served with the Eagle Squadrons; 16 Britons also served in leadership positions. The Eagle Squadrons' time in the RAF provided great dividends; because of the experience gained in fighter operations, the 4th Fighter Group went on to become one of the most effective fighter units in the Eighth Air Force.

The Eagle Squadrons were often scrambled to take on German attackers.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Strap 'Em Down!
When the museum needed a way to secure the lighter aircraft in the collection for events on an open ramp, four great American companies joined in to create the solutions. Behrens Metalware provided their galvanized steel buckets, Quickcrete of Denver donated concrete, Huyett Industrial Master Distributor contributed forged steel lifting eyebolts, and Powertye gave the museum their tough ratchet straps. We thank these generous companies for their support!
Stearman Trainer is Latest Addition to Museum’s Collection
Help us welcome the latest addition to our collection of flying aircraft!

The arrival of this 1944 Boeing-Stearman E-75 (civilian registration of the PT-13D Kaydet) biplane trainer at the Museum on November 23rd expanded the collection of aircraft to 29.

This Stearman, S/N 42-17579, was fully restored by Phil Allison of Auburn Indiana and generously donated by Rick James, also of Auburn.

Flying at about 90-95 mph, Museum volunteer pilots Ian Wayman and his son Iain logged 16 hours of flight time and spent two nights in motels as they flew the aircraft to Colorado Springs.
Asked what it was like flying the open-cockpit trainer from Indiana to Colorado in November, they said, "Cold." Thanks for bringing her over, guys!

Story and Photo Credit: Rich Tuttle
B-21 vs XB-21: What a Difference 86 Years Makes!
Just a few weeks ago, on December 2nd, we saw the unveiling of the Northrop Grumman B-21 stealth bomber at Palmdale, California. Eighty-six years ago, on December 22, 1936, North American Aviation marked the first flight of its XB-21 medium bomber prototype at Mines Field, Los Angeles.The designations are similar, but the technology has come a long way in over eight decades.

Many aspects of the new B-21, which is expected to fly for the first time next year, are classified, but it is intended to evade detection and deliver conventional and nuclear weapons over intercontinental ranges. North American's long-ago XB-21 was a promising bomber design with strong defensive armament, among other things.
In 1937, however, the XB-21 lost in a U.S. Army Air Corps competition to an improved version of Douglas Aircraft's B-18 Bolo. Douglas won an order for 177 of its planes, designated the B-18A.

The competition taught North American a number of lessons which it then employed in the design of its B-25 Mitchell medium bomber.

The B-25 is probably best known for its use in the Doolittle raid against Japan on April 18, 1942. In fact, the new B-21 stealth bomber is named the Raider in honor of that mission.

See our B-25J Mirtchell In The Mood when you visit the Museum!

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Congratulations Merrick Dunphy, Volunteer of the Year!
Merrick Dunphy was named the National Museum of World War II Aviation's Volunteer of the Year 2022 at our annual Christmas party on December 18th at the Kaija Raven Shook Pavilion. In presenting the honor before an audience of about 180, Bill Klaers, president and CEO, noted that Merrick also was Volunteer of the First Quarter.

Kevin "Yoda" Hopkins, Awards Program Manager, previously said regarding that first quarter award, "Just as Merrick completed the shadow process and was about to begin working, the Museum had to shut down for COVID in March 2020. Merrick returned to the Museum when we were able to reopen and she began working in the Admissions Office, she has become an integral part of the Museum."

"Now serving as the Membership Coordinator for the Museum, Merrick has done an outstanding job. She takes on any task assigned and always does a great job. She is always at the ready to streamline a process to help make our job a bit easier."

Joining Bill and Debi Klaers in congratulating Merrick were the other three Volunteers of the Quarter for 2022 -- Rich Tuttle for the Second Quarter, Arnie Easterly for the third quarter, and Bryan McMeekin for the Fourth Quarter.

"Congratulations to all of you, and thank you all for your service!" said Debi Klaers.

Story Credit: Rich Tuttle
Upcoming Events
Special Presentation -- History Flight: Never Leave a Fallen Comrade Behind

Helping to Recover Missing World War Two Airmen

Saturday, January 21, 2023
Museum opens 8:00 a.m., presentation 9:30 a.m.

How can you fill an emptiness that has always been part of your family’s life? The aim of History Flight archaeology is to assist the Department of Defense (DoD) in finding the remains of missing World War Two airmen so they can be brought home.

On March 21, 1945, pilot Second Lieutenant Lynn Wilson Hadfield was killed on his first mission; he was flying a twin-engine A-26B Invader ground attack aircraft when he was shot down over Hülsten-Reken, Germany. A suspected crash site was found in June 2016; it then took more than two years until positive identification of the crash and remains.

Career archaeologist Steve Cassells was part of the History Flight archaeology team that conducted the excavation of the suspected site in Germany and recovered the wreckage of the aircraft, as well as the confirmed remains of Lieutenant Hadfield.

On Saturday, January 21st, Steve will make a special presentation at the museum describing this and other operations he has participated in helping the Department of Defense recover the remains of air crews so they could be returned to their families. He’ll discuss two P-47 Thunderbolts and the A-26 Invader recoveries he has participated in since 2016.

8:00 am Doors Open
9:30 am Presentation

Standard admission prices are in effect. The purchase of advance on-line tickets at is encouraged. Advance ticket prices are:

Adult $15
Child (4-12) $11
Senior and Military $13
WWII Veterans - Free admission
Parking – Always Free

You may also read a wonderful article on Lt Hadfield, the recovery efforts, and his return to the United States for long-overdue military honors at this link: Lynn Hadfield: An American family finds closure as a WWII hero finally comes home | CNN .
In Memoriam
B-17G Texas Raiders was a crowd favorite at the 2022 Pikes Peak Regional Airshow. Please join us as we support the families affected by the profound tragedy at the Wings Over Dallas airshow on November 12th.
Donate to support the families: .
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This Month's Newsletter Contributors

Gene Pfeffer
Historian & Curator
Rich Tuttle

Rich Tuttle
Docent, Newsletter Writer, Social Media Writer, Photographer

John Henry
Lead Volunteer for Communications

George White
Newsletter Editor, Social Media Writer, Photographer