President George W. Bush will speak during a Veterans Day Tribute at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 11 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The event will coincide with the release of his memoir, Decision Points, by Crown Publishers on Nov. 9. During the event at the museum, Bush will honor all veterans, highlighting key points in his book that involve the U.S. military. Tickets for the event are free and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals interested in obtaining tickets (limit is two per person) must pick them up in the museum's gift shop beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 1. Tickets will be distributed until 4:30 p.m. (or while tickets are available). After Nov. 1, please call (937) 904-9881 to ensure tickets are still available. Click here for additional details about the event.
Virtual tour launches this month
Tour offers 360-degree views of museum galleries
The public can soon check out an exciting new feature on the museum's website. A virtual tour will launch in early November, offering an all-hours pass to see 360-degree views of the museum's galleries, with links to bonus material such as videos, audio and additional online information. Initially, Web users can view the Air Park, Memorial Park, Presidential and Research & Development (R&D) Galleries. Galleries in the main museum complex will follow in the coming months. Be sure to watch our Virtual Tour page for updated content, individual panoramas for smartphones, a follow-along audio tour and the museum lecture series podcast.
Test pilot to speak on Nov. 17 Paul Metz is this month's guest lecturer
Paul Metz, who has over 7,000 hours and more than 37 years of experience flying 70 aircraft types including the F-86, F-105, F-4, F-5, F-15, F-20, YF-23 and F-22, will present "From Weasels to Raptors: A Test Pilot's Story" at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17. Prior to becoming a test pilot in 1980, Metz joined the USAF in 1968 and flew operational missions in the F-105G "Wild Weasel" in the U.S. and Southeast Asia. He flew 68 missions over North Vietnam and took part in the pivotal "12 Days of Christmas" raids in December 1972. His combat day and night missions against surface-to-air missiles and anti-aircraft gun sites in support of strike missions in North Vietnam earned him two Distinguished Flying Crosses and six Air Medals. Click here to learn more about Metz.
Free fun for the entire family Learn about space shuttles during Family Day
Commemorate the anniversary of the greatest engineering feat in modern history, the International Space Station, during Family Day from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 20. Visitors will learn about the International Space Station and how it was made possible by the world's first and only reusable spacecraft -- the United States' own space shuttle! Aerospace demonstration stations will demonstrate the principles behind rocket flight, and participants can try their hand at landing a model space shuttle orbiter from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and can build and fly a paper shuttle glider from 1:30-3 p.m. in the Modern Flight Gallery. Admission and parking are free. Click here for more information.
Forward Air Controllers in Southeast Asia
The guerrilla-style war waged by communists in Southeast Asia during the early 1960s revived the forward air controller (FAC) mission. Pilots flying fast fighter bombers had difficulty distinguishing friendly troops and civilians from enemy forces. An air liaison officer riding in a radio-equipped jeep could control air strikes, but the rough jungle terrain hid communist movements. Therefore, FACs flying over the battlefield became the essential element in directing the United States' overwhelming air power against the elusive communist guerrillas. Click here for more information about FACs during the Southeast Asia War. Note: In preparation for the 50th anniversary of the first U.S. Air Force campaign during the Southeast Asia War, the museum is in the process of renovating the Southeast Asia War exhibit area.
This month in USAF history
Nov. 21, 1970
Special U.S. Air Force and Army task force volunteers tried to rescue American servicemen from the Son Tay prisoner of war camp, 20 miles west of Hanoi. Brig. Gen. Leroy J. Manor commanded the operation, while Army Col. Arthur D. Simons led the search-and-rescue team. Unfortunately, the prisoners had been moved elsewhere. Click here to learn more about the Son Tay Raid.