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Recap of December 2022 Events

December 29, 2022

Throughout each year, our Museum actively works to share and preserve the history of Pearl Harbor and the air raid that happened on that infamous day, December 7 1941. This year, the 81st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum commemorated the day with a week of public programs focused on bringing people together to honor, learn and pay tribute to our WWII service members and all men and women who serve. During this time, we reflect on the resilience of America’s Armed Forces and the Greatest Generation who answered the call to defend freedom and justice.

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December 3, 2022

To kick off the week, we hosted a panel discussion with Medal of Honor Recipient Major General Patrick Henry Brady, USA (Ret) and Lieutenant General Dan “Fig” Leaf, USAF (Ret) in the Museum theater.

During their hour-long panel discussion, they covered Brady’s time being a UH-1 “Huey” Medevac helicopter pilot, known in the battlefield as “Dust Off”, and how he quickly earned a reputation as one of the most skilled and courageous Dust Off pilots in Vietnam. We also learned how Brady became a specialist in combat pickups at night, in poor weather, and under fire, using many techniques never before used in combat.

This event was followed by a book signing of Brady’s book “Dead Men Flying”.

Watch the recording of this panel discussion here:

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The week of commemoration commenced with our annual fundraising gala, For Love of Country. We welcomed our gala ticket holders for a fun evening of fantastic dining, entertainment, and spirited fun as we honored our veterans of the past, thanked the men and women who bravely serve our country today, and inspired future generations. Many supporters who were unable to join us in person, participated through the online silent auction or through gifts to support the Ray Foundation Raise the Paddle challenge in support of our Youth Education Scholarship program.

The event was high spirited and full of enthusiasm for Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum and our mission to honor the past and inspire the future. Your support of this annual fundraising event provides critical funds to help our mission, preserving the history of this American WWII aviation battlefield, so that we might educate visitors and students alike, sharing the legacy of our Greatest Generation.

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December 4th, 2022

Continuing with Museum tradition, we hosted a movie screening the day after our gala in partnership with the WWII Foundation. This year we screened, Jack Taylor: The Enterprise, a documentary that tells the story of Enterprise Rent-A-Car founder, Jack Crawford Taylor. Taylor joined the US Navy in 1942 and became a decorated Hellcat pilot in the South Pacific. After the war, Taylor returned home and utilized the lessons he learned to help establish one of America’s most successful post-war companies, Enterprise Rent-A-Car. The company was named after the aircraft carrier that Taylor served on, the most decorated American ship in WWII.

This documentary film is available to stream from home, click the button below. Also, visit the WWII Foundation website to enjoy free access to other wonderfully produced movies about our WWII heroes.

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December 7th, 2022

Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day is observed each year on December 7th. Pearl Harbor survivors, veterans, and visitors from all over come together to honor and remember not only the service members and civilians who were killed during the attack on Pearl Harbor, but all those who served during this global war. This year we were excited to have a couple of added programs for the public to participate in.

Our Douglas SBD-2P Dauntless aircraft, currently on display, was restored by the Kalamazoo Air Zoo staff, volunteers, and over 1,000 students in a partnership made possible by funding from Fred Turner, the Lendo Family, The Boeing Company, and the Naval History and Heritage Command, owners of this incredible aircraft pulled from Lake Michigan. Troy Thrash, President of Kalamazoo Air Zoo and Dr. Arthur Lendo, nephew of the last pilot of our SBD, participated in our dedication ceremony. Troy presented the restoration process of our SBD and Dr. Lendo shared his family's story as part of the dedication and blessing ceremony to officially welcome the aircraft on display.

Watch the recording of the blessing ceremony here:

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Syd Jones and KT Budde Jones, co-authors of Before and Beyond the Niihau Zero, a book that documented their restoration efforts of the Zero artifact now on display at our museum, held a book signing adjacent to the exhibit. Syd and KT, early members of our museum staff, engaged with visitors to share their compelling stories of what they experienced during their research. Guests were able to view the wreckage of the Niihau Zero on display at the Museum as they discussed the book with the authors.

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December 8th, 2022

Charlie “Sid” Gillman, former Naval aviator and retired Capt. shared his findings and research on the Nakajima B5N “Kate” Bomber, one of the three Japanese aircraft used in the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His presentation, held in our theater, addressed the myths and Hollywood-like mindset of the Kate and its torpedo. He also covered a number of topics surrounding the Kate and her torpedo – what was her mission, how was the torpedo used, how did the three-man crew communicate with each other. He took us into the cockpit and in the mind of the pilot and his crew.

We thank everyone who participated in this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day week of events at Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.

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