|Aerial view of the main part of the museum|
This time, we went in through the main entrance and made a beeline back to the "Cold War" hangar so we could show Dick the SR71 (Blackhawk) aircraft. During Dick's enlistment, he worked as an air traffic controller at Area 51, bringing in these highly classified aircraft on a regular basis. He was moved by the memories that came back to him as he looked at this mammoth, stealthy piece of equipment from so long ago.
|Here is Dick, standing next to the aircraft that he kept secret for so many years.|
I took the following picture from under the rear of the Blackhawk looking toward the front wheels, just to try and show how immense this aircraft is. Unbelievable.
The final exhibit we explored in the same hanger was the Presidential Gallery. Four presidents' planes were displayed - Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Kennedy. We were able to climb a set of stairs into the front of each plane, walk through the passenger area to the back, and exit out the rear down another stairway. It was interesting to see how the planes progressed through the administrations in size and luxury.
|President Kennedy's plane, the largest on display here|
When Kennedy was assassinated, Jackie and the other U.S. leaders did not want his body carried in the cargo area of the plane, and so some of the seats in the rear of the plane were removed in order to place his coffin there for travel. Jackie sat across the aisle, accompanying his body on the trip. His coffin was placed in the area just inside and to the left of the stairway you see here:
All in all, it was a good time of exploring some major parts of the United States Air Force history, and learning many new tidbits and interesting facts. We are grateful that we had the opportunity to bring Bob's father to see once again the aircraft with which he worked. Seeing them again seemed to take him back to a time he is very proud of in his life. I am grateful for men and women like him that have so bravely served our great country.