Thursday, March 27, 2014

Flying High! The Strategic Air and Space Museum

On Saturday my sister Chrissy organized a family trip to what is now apparently called the Strategic Air and Space Museum.  We always called it SAC - Strategic Air Command - because one of its duties was to always keep a plane in the air, 24/7, as part of the Cold War vigilance.  Dad thought they shouldn't have stopped doing that. 

Now there is a museum there with two hangers full of planes, a planetarium, and some space stuff.  We saw bombers, stuff from a Nebraska astronaut, a Russian MIG, and the engine from a plane that goes 3 times the speed of sound.

Hanging out with family.
More photos after the jump...

Arwen holding a meteorite.
 I had no idea my husband knew so much about airplanes.  He'd been in the Civil Air Patrol in high school, and he seemed to remember all kinds of information. 
Lots of planes!  Many of them were from the 1950s.
This is when I realized that we weren't supposed to be in this one.  We found out later that someone hadn't gotten the rope put in place when they were supposed to.
 We had to cross that narrow beam in order to get to the cockpit and the bubble with the swiveling chairs and the guns. (Sorry, Uncle Steve, I don't know all the right words!)

In the machine gun turret.
There are so many caption possibilities for these....

There was also a somber side, for me at least, in a display with a model fallout shelter and other Cold War memories.  Ah, yes, the abiding fear of my childhood--nuclear annihilation.  My nephews and niece aren't growing up with that reality.  

It brings back memories.  I was never terrified.  It was just a part of reality that one accepted--now I lay me down to sleep, and if the Soviets attack I will be lucky if I never wake up.  We were 50 miles from Ouffut Air Force Base and so we figured we would die in agony a few weeks from the radiation after the base vanished in a hail of bombs.  It was important enough to be a first-round target-- there's a reason President Bush went there after the 9/11 attacks when we didn't know what was going on.

This is equipment from a nuclear missile silo.  I think it was in Kansas.  On the right you can see the key.
Here's a close-up:
An identical desk sat next to it in the display, with an identify spot for a key.  I explained to Conner why--two people had to turn the key at the same time in order to launch a nuclear attack. 

I took a picture of this, noting the caption at the bottom, and thought of Crimea and Putin's ambitions. 
I'm praying for peace.  And I'm remembering so many who sacrificed so much.

It's a really neat museum, and definitely worth a stop.  I am not a military history buff by a long shot, but the place is full of stories, stories of heroism, ingenuity, exploration, and the past.

1 comment:

  1. Glad you didn't hit any wrong buttons in the accidental cockpit visit!