Visit California’s March Field Air Museum

November 19, 2013 by  
Filed under Features

Located adjacent to the March Air Reserve Base in Riverside County, California, the March Field Air Museum was opened to the public on December 19, 1979. At the dedication ceremony the keynote address was delivered by Lt. General James P. Mullins, the 15th Air Force Commander. At that time the museum’s collection of photographs, paintings, documents and model airplanes detailing the history of the base from its inception in 1918 was housed in the Air Force Base theater building. In addition to the museum building, there was a park nearby where primarily historic aircraft were on display. In less than two years the museum’s collection had grown to such an extent that it needed new premises, and was moved to the former commissary building which was big enough to accommodate up to three aircraft indoors along with the growing collection of memorabilia.

Today, visitors to the March Field Air Museum will find more than 70 historic aircraft on display, including the famous Lockheed SR-71 “Blackbird” and World War II aircraft such as the B-17 Flying Fortress, the B-29 Superfortress, the B-25 Mitchell bomber and the Douglas A/B-26 Invader. Many of these aircraft are on loan from the USAF Museum at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Aircraft on display that are owned by the museum include an A-37 “Dragonfly” Cessna; C-54Q “Skymaster” Douglas; an FO-141 Folland “Gnat”; an H-21B “Workhorse” Piasecki; a MiG-19; a MiG-21F-13; and Mig-23BN, among others.

In its Heritage Courtyard, the museum features a Freedom Wall with stone plaques engraved with the wording of documents that have shaped the history of the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address and the Constitution. Also in the courtyard is the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial, dedicated on October 27, 2010, along with the War Dog Memorial Sculpture dedicated to dogs and their handlers. Members of the public can purchase tiles, inscribed with a message of their choice, as part of these monuments or the courtyard. Funds raised are used to maintain and extend the museum. Plans are underway to install a monument honoring Women in Aviation in the Heritage Courtyard of the March Field Air Museum.

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