WWII, history, and airplane enthusiasts alike will enjoy a visit to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. This unique museum, located just minutes from McMillan Inn in Pooler, GA, is filled with historical artifacts and exhibits, including the only publicly accessible “Flying Fortress” in the world.
The historic United States Eighth Air Force, America’s “greatest air armada of all time,” was formed in January, 1942 after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Though activated at Virginia’s Langley Field, the Eighth was reassigned to the Savannah Air Base.
One of the young force’s first missions was to gain control of Europe’s skies for an Allied invasion. No small task but the Eighth was up to it. In fact, the Eighth was the United States’ largest combat Army Air Force during WWII, responsible for numerous bombing missions in Nazi Germany.
These bombing raids were no walk in the park, either. Facing off against heavy anti-aircraft fire and the German Luftwaffe, in the daytime, no less, the Eighth suffered more than 47,000 casualties. That makes up half of the casualties suffered by Army Air Forces in World War II.
Many Eighth Air Force personnel earned high distinction for their actions during WWII. The list of awards includes 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, and 442,000 Air Medals.
Visiting the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
The National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force is located at 175 Bourne Avenue in Pooler, GA, less than a half-hour from our Savannah bed and breakfast.
The 90,000 square foot museum is dedicated to preserving the history and stories of the Eighth through interactive exhibits, historical artifacts and more.
The most popular attractions have to be the historic planes on display. There’s s PT-17 Kaydet, an F-4C Phantom, a MiG-17A, and a B-47 Stratojet. There’s also a nose of a “Fightin’ Sam” B-24 Liberator, and lots of highly detailed, scale model airplanes.
That’s not all, though. The big star of the show, however, is The City of Savannah.
The City of Savannah, named after the 5,000th plane to leave Hunter Army Airfield during WWII, is a restored B-17G bomber. In fact, it’s the only “Flying Fortress” open to the public in the world. Seeing it up close and in person is an experience everyone will enjoy.
Exhibits at the museum focus on topics like the Tuskeegee Airmen, WASPs, WWII Prisoners of War, V-E Day, and more. Many include ineractive elements, like the popular “Mission Experience” exhibit where you experience a simulated WWII bombing mission.
The museum is also home to a research center, memorial garden, chapel, and more. So much more, in fact, that you may want to leave the day open. Many visitors complain of not scheduling enough time after having spent 3 hours here.
There’s even an English-style pub on the premises, offering drinks, sandwiches, salads, and other yummy options.