World War II

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Fri, March 31 2017

Women Guided the Way in the [Simulated] Sky During WWII

The U.S. Navy’s WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) were a notable legacy of World War II’s influence on the evolving gender norms of the later 20th century.

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Learning the Celestial Navigation Trainer
Wed, December 7 2016

The Complicated Lead Up to Pearl Harbor

Today, on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Curator Laurence Burke took a step back and explored the long and complicated history that led up to the Japanese attack. Burke, to an audience outside the Museum’s Sea-Air Operations gallery, said the story of Pearl Harbor often focuses on the events of December 7, 1941, but not what happened before the day that President Roosevelt called, “a date which will live in infamy.” To understand Pearl Harbor, Burke took the audience back to 1853-1854 when U.S. Naval Captain Matthew C. Perry sailed to Japan and negotiated the opening of Japanese ports for trade. After more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation, Japan wanted to engage with the rest of the world.  

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Attack on Pearl Harbor
Fri, November 11 2016

Stories of Service

Today is Veterans Day, a day in which we honor our veterans, past and present, for their service and sacrifice. One aspect of the Museum’s mission is to commemorate the past. Today, especially, we are doing that by telling the stories of our veterans. We have created a space—Stories of Service—where you can share your experiences as a veteran, or on behalf of the veteran in your life

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Volunteer Richard L. World War I
Wed, October 5 2016

An Original WWII Smokejumper

WWII veteran and Triple Nickle Thomas McFadden recently sat down with STEM in 30 host Marty Kelsey to talk about his time serving as a smoke jumper during WWII and his role in Operation Firefly.

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Wed, September 28 2016

The History of Japan’s First Jet Aircraft

Earlier this year, our collections staff at the Udvar-Hazy Center, in Chantilly, Virginia, moved the Nakajima Kikka from beneath the wing of the Sikorsky JRS flying boat in the Mary Baker Engen Restoration Hangar and out onto the floor beneath the Boeing B-29 Enola Gay. Moving the Kikka provides an opportunity to bring visitors closer to the last known example of a World War II Japanese jet aircraft and the only Japanese jet to takeoff under its own power—it also opened up space in the Hangar so that our team could install netting to deter birds. 

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Japanese Jet Aircraft
Tue, September 27 2016

Preparing to Restore the “Concrete Plane”

The Museum is proud to have the Ilyushin Il-2 in its collections, as one of the few large artifacts in the Museum's possession associated with the Soviet Air Force in World War II. Once on exhibition, the plane will close a large void in the Museum’s presentation. But before the Shturmovik can enter the workshop, we have to learn as much as possible about the aircraft and its history.

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Soviet Ilyushin Il-2 Cockpit
Mon, September 26 2016

Stalin’s “Essential Aircraft:” Ilyushin Il-2 in WWII

At the Museum’s Paul E. Garber Preservation, Restoration, and Storage Facility, a unique aircraft is waiting for restoration: the Soviet Ilyushin Il-2. Barely known in the West, the Il-2 Shturmovik played an essential role in defeating the Nazi...

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 Ilyushin Il-2 Shturmovik in Flight
Sun, August 7 2016

Jimmy Doolittle: Daredevil Pilot & Fun-Loving Friend

On National Friendship Day, we take time to remember the friends that stand with us through good times and bad. World War II hero James “Jimmy” Doolittle was fun-loving and fearless as a teenager, making himself quite a few friends along the way. Looking back on his friendship with Doolittle, opera singer Lawrence Tibbett recalled some of the ups and downs they shared.

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Jimmy Doolittle
Sat, August 6 2016

On This Day: Enola Gay Drops Atomic Bomb

On this day in 1945, during the final stages of World War II, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Enola Gay dropped the first atomic weapon used in combat on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

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Enola Gay Landing at Tinian
Thu, May 12 2016

A New Home for an Old Glove

What makes a tattered and torn glove worthy of collecting? When it once belonged to the third highest scoring ace in aviation history Günther Rall. The glove (with its thumb visibly damaged from a 1944 air raid in whichRall was hit in the left hand by gun fire), a painted portrait of Rall as a prisoner of war, and his diary from 1942 were all recently donated to the Museum.

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Günter Rall's Glove


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