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Visits to WWII exhibits:
Museums, Memorials and Parades ~ articles and photos

Camp Roberts' museum

Visit to Camp Roberts Historical Museum


Visited November 2008: You must have valid identification, vehicle registration, and proof of vehicle insurance to enter post. Camp Robert's namesake is Corporal Roberts, who lost his life at age twenty-two in the Argonne Offensive of World War I—the largest and bloodiest battle in American military history—and was awarded the Medal of Honor, our Nation’s highest honor.

The camp museum covers the entire history of the site from World War I to the modern era, but the vehicle collection favors World War II vehicles. In November of 2008, the collection included the following WW II era US Army vehicles: a M7 Priest, an M2 or M3 half track, an M8 armored car, an officers staff car and a 75 millimeter artillery training piece. The collection also included a WW II era German Army cargo truck and German Army wheel mounted anti-tank gun. The site also hosts World War II re-enactments, call for dates.

Camp San Luis Obispo

Visit to Camp San Luis Obispo Baatan Memorial


Visited November 2008: The Bataan Memorial consists of an early version of a Stuart tank (M3), featuring a 37mm canon in the main turret and two 30 caliber machine guns in sponsons mounted in the hull. Opposing the Stuart tank is a Japanese anti-tank gun. Further down the mall a restored Japanese type 97B is also on display.

Camp San Luis Obispo is an active National Guard base and security is an issue when you visit this site. The guards will give instructions as to what can or cannot be photographed.

Castle Air Museum

Visit to Castle Air Museum


Visited November 2010: There are currently over 54 restored aircraft on the museum grounds which encompass planes from World War II to the present.

World War II aircraft include: B-17 Flying Fortress, B-18 Bolo, B-23 Dragon, B-24 Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, A-26B Invader, B-29 Super Fortress, C-45 Expeditor, AT-6 Texan, BT-13 Valiant, C-46 Commando, C-47 Skytrain, C-56 Lodestar and R5D-4 Skymaster. The outdoor exhibit covers twenty acres and there is an indoor museum as well displaying Army Air Corps and Air Force uniforms, a Norden Bomb Sight, an R-2800 Double Wasp engine, and a collection of war-time memorabilia.

Camp San Luis Obispo

Visit to Coastal Defenses - Western U.S.

Visited November 2010: The installations at Battery Chamberlain and were installed prevent passage of enemy ships through the Golden Gate into the San Francisco Bay.

Memorial at Fairmont Park

Visit to Fairmont Park tank memorial

Visited November 2008: This is a memorial to the workers and soldiers that built and operated the amphibious tank LVT-(A)-1 in WWII. Placed by the lake across from the American Legion Clubhouse, the memorial consists of a single tank..

General Patton Museum

Visit to General Patton Memorial Museum


Visited November 2008: The General Patton Memorial Museum is dedicated to America’s most flamboyant tank commander in world War II. The museum is located at the entrance to Camp Young, the command post for the Desert Training Center where Patton trained thousands of American Army troops in desert warfare. The museum has two rooms of memorabilia from the Civil War through Iraqi Freedom as well as a tank yard where there is a collection of armored vehicles. Significant World War II tanks in the tank yard include the Stuart light tank, the Sherman medium tank and the Pershing heavy tank. Also included is at DUKW (amphibious truck) and a Japanese anti-tank gun.

Naval Aviation Centennial

Naval Aviation Centennial Celebration

February 12, 2011: This event commemorated the historic occassion of one hundred years of Naval Aviation which first began in San Diego. Lieutenant Ellyson was the first naval officer to undergo flight training and reported to the Curtiss Aviation Camp on North Island, San Diego in 1911. Highlights of the Centennial included; a "Parade of Flight" with aircraft from the 1930s forward, an aerial performance by the Navy Leap Frog parachute team, and a variety of aircraft on static display. Aircraft carrier tours were also available.

Palm Springs Air Museum entrance

Visit to Palm Springs Air Museum


We visited the Palm Springs Air museum in November 2009. The museum has a large collection of World War II flying aircraft including a Douglass SBD Dauntless dive bomber, Douglas A-26A Invader attack bomber, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, a North American Mitchell B-25J medium bomber, Grumman F8F Bearcat Navy fighter, Grumman F6F Hellcat carrier-based fighter, Goodyear FG1D Corsair carrier capable fighter,Goodyear-built corsair, Grumman FM-2 Wildcat carrier-based fighter, North American P-51D Mustang fighter, Bell P-63 Kingcobra fighter, Republic P47D Thunderbolt fighter, Curtiss P-40N Warhawk, Grumman TBM Avenger torpedo bomber, Royal Navy MKXIV Supermarine Spitfire fighter, Grumman J2F Duck, Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat, and a C-47 Skytrain transport aircraft.

Outside the building is a German 88mm anti-aircraft gun. There is splendid relief artwork on the upper exterior walls of the building that depict aircraft in the European and the Asian theaters of World War Il and large murals by aviation artist Stan Stokes can be found on the walls inside the building. A high percentage of the aircraft are maintained in flying condition and some are open for visitors to climb inside. Many of the docents are veterans who have had first hand experience with these aircraft and enjoy talking with the visitors.

Planes of Fame Museum -

Visit to Planes of Fame - Chino


Visited November 2008: The Planes of Fame Air Museum in is dedicated to maintaining World War II and other historical planes in flying condition. It includes a collection that "spans the history of manned flight".

Planes are displayed in hangers and adjacent outdoor areas. American planes include a B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25J Mitchell, F3F Wildcat, F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, P-38 Lightning, P-39 Airacobra, P-40 Warhawk, P-47G Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, SBD Dauntless, TBM Avenger and a C-47 (DC-3). German planes include a replica Ba349 Natter, a replica He 100, a replica Me 163 Komet, a Loon (a US copy of the V-1 "Buzz Bomb" painted in V-1 colors), Fieseler Storch, and a He 162.

Japanese planes include a D3A2 Val, A6M5 Zeke (Zero), G4M1 Betty wreck, J8M1 Shusui (a Me 163 Komet built under license in Japan) and a J2M3 Jack. The site hosts a nice gift shop, and on many days individual museum aircraft are warmed up and flown. A collection of over 150 aircraft exist between both the Chino and Grand Canyon facilities.

Planes of Fame museum - Valle, Arizona

Visit to Planes of Fame - Valle


Visited November 2008: A division of the Planes of Fame Air Museum in , the Grand Canyon site contains a "sizeable collection of very rare and one-of-a-kind classic aircraft". Of interest to World War II enthusiasts, the single large hanger adjoining the runway houses an Me 109G, an Aichi D3A2 Val dive bomber (conversion for the movie Tora, Tora, Tora), a Douglas B-26 Invader, a Grumman J2F-6 Duck and an Yokosuka MXY 7 Ohka flying bomb (as of November of 2008). This site, as well as the Chino facility, is dedicated to maintaining World War Two and other historical planes in flying condition. Also on this site is nice gift shop and the facility is adjacent to an automobile museum.

USS Hornet Museum - Alameda, California

Visit to USS Hornet Museum - Aircraft carrier


Visited November 2008: The USS Hornet (CV12) is an Essex class aircraft carrier named after the USS Hornet (CV8) that participated in the Doolittle raid in April of 1942 and was later sunk in October of 1942 by the Japanese. The USS Hornet (CV12) entered combat in the Pacific in March of 1944, and participated in the Marianas Turkey Shoot, the invasions of the Philippines, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. The USS Hornet made numerous air strikes against Japanese installations in the Western Pacific including Japan itself, and participated in the sinking of the Japanese battleship Yamamoto. In 1955 an angled flight deck was added and the modernized ship participated in the Vietnam conflict. The USS Hornet also retrieved the Apollo 11 moon astronauts that were greeted on board by President Nixon. The USS Hornet (CV12) was retired in June of 1970, and opened as a museum in October of 1998.

The museum hosts a restored SBD Dauntless dive bomber and other postwar aircraft. The original Apollo moon quarantine trailer and other space exhibits are present, along with a wonderful collection of model aircraft carriers. The ship is huge, and it is a challenge to see everything within a six hour visit.

LCS 102 Mare Island

Visit to USS LCS102 (Landing Craft Support)

WWII Landing Craft Support gunboat museum
Berthed at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard

Visited September 2009: USS LCS 102 is berthed at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard and is currently open to the public as a museum. The gunboat was loaned to the Government of Thailand on August 29, 1966 and transferred to the National Association of USS LCS (L) 1-130 on May 22, 2007. It is "dedicated to the officers and men who served so valiantly aboard a Mighty Midget and the HTMS Nakha as well as a memorial for those who died while in the service of our two great countries. "

The USS LCS 102 was commissioned on January 13, 1945. She served during World War II, and earned the China Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and World War II Victory Medal. Since being returned to the US, restoration of the gunboat has been in progress. As much as possible, the Tai equipment had been replaced with U.S. Navy standard issue equipment. The restoration work is on going and the the day we visited, they were doing exterior painting.

You may visit the ship on Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They are also there most Tuesdays and Thursdays. We were lucky enough to get a tour by William Mason, a veteran of the LCS 86. Dr. Mason was one of the people instrumental in the return of the LCS 102 and in her continued restoration as a museum.


Petaluma Veterans Day Parade

November 11, 2009

On November 11, 2009, my wife and I attended the 20th annual Veterans Day Parade in . Approximately 120 entries took part in the parade, including many veterans, military vehicles, a marching band, horses, and walking groups in uniform.

Many WWII veterans rode in the parade. Those who we came into contact with included a flying ace (P-40, P-38, P51 pilot), four Pearl Harbor survivors, a B-17 waist gunner, a Marine who was stationed on Midway Island, bomber pilots (B-24, B-17), a submarine captain, and a fighter pilot (P-38, P-51, P-47, P-61). We arrived early and were able to to meet and speak with some of these men about their experiences and were very pleased to be able to thank them personally for their service.

War Eagles Air Museum in

Visit to War Eagles Air Museum


May 3, 2011: This air museum has a collection of historic aircraft from the World War II and the Korean Conflict eras. World War II era aircraft on display include A-26 Invader, AT-19 Reliant, BT-13 Valiant, British de Haviland-82 Tiger Moth, F-4U Corsair, German Fi-156 Fieseler Storch, Hawker Fury Mk 10, J-3 Piper Cub, North American AT-6 Texan, P-38 Lightning, P-40 Warhawk, P51D Mustang TBM Avenger, and a Russian Tupolev TU-2.