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News > Air Force Museum commemorates 60th anniversary of Korean War with renovated exhibit
Tactical Air Control Parties
A Tactical Air Control Party diorama is a featured part of the re-opening of the Korean War exhibit in the Modern Flight Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. The re-opening of the renovated exhibit June 24 commemorates the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. (U.S. Air Force photo)
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Air Force Museum commemorates 60th anniversary of Korean War with renovated exhibit

Posted 6/24/2010   Updated 6/24/2010 Email story   Print story


by Sarah Swan
National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs

6/24/2010 - DAYTON, Ohio -- Veterans of the Korean War and their guests will gather June 24 at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force to celebrate the opening of the renovated Korean War exhibit in the museum's Modern Flight Gallery.

The 42,000-square-foot exhibit commemorates the 60th anniversary of the start of the Korean War by telling the story of how the young Air Force passed the tough test of combat in its early years.

"This exhibit -- the largest single exhibit project undertaken by our staff -- is a fitting tribute to the sacrifices of our Korean War veterans," said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Charles D. Metcalf, museum director. "We have expanded the story of the United States Air Force and the Korean air force's coming of age, and we are able to honor these heroes of the 'Forgotten War' by sharing their story with more than 1 million visitors each year."

The exhibit features 14 of the most important aircraft of the conflict, including the C-124 transport and agile fighters like the F-86 Sabre and its dangerous adversary, the MiG-15. The story is explained in 15 chapters, including themes such as air superiority, special operations and air rescue.

"This exhibit is really about the birth of the modern Air Force," said Dr. Doug Lantry, a research historian at the museum and the lead curator for the exhibit. "It explains each of the Air Force's main missions during the war and how the Air Force tackled them."

In the expanded exhibit, visitors can explore the Korean War experience through several interactive touch screens, audiovisual presentations and personal stories illustrated with more than 330 museum artifacts and 500 photographs.

"We tried to present the story of the Korean War using sound, light, images and objects," Doctor Lantry said. "Visitors can really immerse themselves in the experience and learn what life was like for Airmen at that time."

For example, the story of the F-86 and MiG aircraft is highlighted by an interactive touch screen featuring detailed information, photos and video explaining these two classic Korean War-era aircraft. The exhibit also explains how the U.S. Air Force won control of the air in Korea and how the first jet-to-jet air battles unfolded, including exciting video and real pilot gear of the era, plus many artifacts collected from Air Force aces.

In addition, visitors will learn about the little-known story of strategic bombing in the Korean War, with an interactive touch screen detailing how B-29 bomber crews carried out their missions. This part of the gallery also features a walk-through B-29 bomber fuselage and examples of bombs that were high-tech weapons of their time.

The exhibit took museum staff a year and a half to plan and construct, and they hope Korean War veterans and other visitors will be pleased with the final results.

"It took a lot of talented people a lot of time and effort to put this together," Doctor Lantry said. "When visitors come to see this exhibit, I hope what they take away with them is that the Air Force not only proved itself but also worked well with its coalition partners to preserve South Korea as a free democratic country."

The Korean War exhibit is a permanent display at the museum and will be open year-round. Additional information about the exhibit is available online at

The re-opening of the museum's Korean War exhibit falls in conjunction with the sixth annual Air Force Materiel Command Freedom's Call Tattoo scheduled for June 25 on the grounds of the museum. Gates open for this free event at 4 p.m., with the main show begining at 8 p.m.

This year's Tattoo theme is 'Reflections on 60 years' and also commemorates veterans from the Korean War, which began June 25, 1950, around the 38th parallel.

The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. , and is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Admission and parking are free.

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