Millville Matters: History Comes Alive

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By: Marianne Lods, Executive Director

Millville Army Airfield Museum welcomes the Collings Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom” tour later this month.

Summer is quickly winding down with shorter days and somewhat cooler temperatures, but there’s still lots to do in Millville!

Mark your calendar for August 28 (2 p.m.) to the 30th (12 noon) and head over to the Millville Army Airfield Museum as they welcome the Collings Foundation’s “Wings of Freedom” tour. This foundation is dedicated to preserving the flight history of the American planes that flew bombing missions over Europe and fighter escort planes during World War II.

For the past two years, Millville has had the honor of having B-17 Flying Fortress, B-24 Liberator and the B-25 Mitchell bomber on the tarmac to view and to take flights.  Also, on hand will be the P-51 Mustang and the P-40 fighters.  

It is absolutely amazing to walk around and onto these warbirds, and it is thrilling to take a ride in one. Many of us had fathers and grandfathers who flew in these aircraft winning the freedom for the Europeans and keeping the United States safe from invasion on the Atlantic seaboard. The flyers helped all the fighting men on the ground defeat the enemy and save the western world.

I had the privilege of being a passenger (in the radio room) of the B-17. As we took off from the Millville airport, flew over the South Jersey farms and wetlands and landed at the Cape May Naval Air Station, history was more alive than ever before.  

Admission onto the tarmac is $5 to $15 per person. The plane rides must be reserved and start at $450 per person. The money raised is used by the Collings Foundation to continue to preserve history by maintaining this aircraft and educating new generations.

Since you will be at the airport, make sure to pay a visit to our own Millville Army Air Field Museum located right across from the airstrip. Admission is free everyday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. and donations are very welcome. 

History comes to life as you tour the displays of many of the brave men and women who served right here in Millville while they trained to fly and fight in the P-47 Thunderbolt! About 10,000 troops served here at America’s First Defense Air Field after it opened on August 2, 1941.

The museum also has a research library in another WWII building.  There is a Link Trainer that simulates a flight for training purposes. See authentic army vehicles, such as a deuce and a half, ambulance and fire truck. On these buildings and others, a variety of large painted murals depict the images that tell the history of our military and brave civilians that helped in the war effort.

Many of the exhibits will inform you about the Navajo Code Talkers, Women with Wings, USO Canteen on Main Street, and everyday life on the base and off.  

The gift shop is filled with wonderful model airplane kits, hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, books, and more for you to remember your visit to a facility that honors the past and salutes our veterans every day of the year.  

Throughout the year, there are special events like documentary movie nights, veteran speakers, Veterans Day celebrations, and fundraising activities. Mark your calendar for Memorial Day weekend 2020 for the next “Wheels and Wings Air Show.” Details will soon be available.  

Check the website and sign up for the e-newsletter: p47millville.org/.



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