The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Located on Miramar Way in San Diego, California, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum offers visitors the opportunity to view a wide range of aircraft and military vehicles, along with exhibits and artifacts detailing the exciting history and fascinating legacy of the United States Marine Corps Aviation. In summer months, the museum has scheduled days during which visitors can sit in the cockpit of a static airplane, examine the controls and get the feeling of what it must be like to be a real pilot. Visitors can also take a stroll along the Walk of Memories which features memorial bricks inscribed with the names of US Marines.

Referring to a member of the United State Marine Corps, the military slang term ‘leatherneck’ comes from the leather collar of the uniform once worn by British and American marines and soldiers in the 18th century. Today the term is taken to refer specifically to a US Marine, and the dress blue uniforms of US Marines still feature the leather stock collar. Fastened by two buckles at the back, the stiff leather collar supported the soldier’s neck giving him an upright ‘military’ posture, allowing him to better aim his rifle and protecting his neck from sword blows.

Static displays at the museum include the CH-46E Sea Knight helicopter known as Lady Ace 09 which flew the last Ambassador of the United States to Vietnam, Graham Martin, out of South Vietnam prior to the Fall of Saigon in April 1975. Other aircraft on display include a Bell AH-1J “Sea Cobra” attack helicopter; a Bell Model 214ST “Huey” which was captured from the Iraqi Air Force; Douglas A-4C and A-4F “Skyhawks”; a Douglas F4D-1 “Skyray” fighter-interceptor aircraft; Grumman A-6E “Intruder” attack bomber aircraft; Grumman F9F-2 “Panther” fighter bomber aircraft; Grumman F9F-8P “Cougar” tactical reconnaissance aircraft; a range of McDonnell-Douglas aircraft and Sikorsky aircraft, among others.

As the only museum in the world dedicated to preserving the history of Marine Corps Aviation, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum has plans to extend the museum and facilities to make the visitor experience even better. Currently the museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 3:30pm, with the option of making arrangements for other times. Be sure to stop in at the museum store and buy something to remind you of your visit to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.