Wednesday, November 13, 2013
390th Memorial Museum at the Pima Air and Space Museum November 9, 2013
The 390th Memorial Museum at the Pima Air and Space Museum just recently opened after a major 2.4 million dollar renovation. The centerpiece of the museum is the B-17 "I'll Be Around," which is on the first floor of the museum. Built later in the war the plane never bombed any targets.The plane was used by the US Coast Guard in patrol and rescue missions.The museum also has an impressive amount of memorabilia associated with the 390th including pieces of flak, a Norden Bombsite, and jackets worn by servicemen of the different squadrons. On the second floor are photos the B-17 crews. It is sobering to remember that many of them never came home.
History: The museum honors the men of the 390th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force who were stationed in Great Britain. The 390th bombed many different targets including railway terminals, bridges, airports, factories and oil installations. From 1943-1945 the group flew over 300 combat missions over Europe with a loss of 181 aircraft and 714 men. Some of their achievements included bombing the coast of France before the Normandy landings, severing German supply lines during the Battle of the Bulge and dropping food supplies to starving Dutch a week before the war ended. The Group won the Presidential Unit Citation twice and held the record for the most number of enemy aircraft shot down in any one mission of 62; achieved in October of 1943. (Information from www.arizonaexperience.org and the 390th Museum)