One Tank Trip to the Wings of Honor museum

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback


There are plenty of places to visit in Region Eight that don't cost a lot of money in gas to get there.

The huge flat space where the Walnut Ridge Airport sits made it a prime candidate to become a World War 2 pilot training base.

The Wings of Honor museum located at the airport is a trip back in time to show you how vital the airport was in defending America.

The Army originally wanted to build the base in Tennessee but had too much dirt to move at the chosen location so they went looking elsewhere.

"They flew over Crowley's Ridge and found this nice flat place out here with nothing but cotton fields. The Army Engineer corp picked this place and made arrangements with the city and the rest is history."

Bill O'Barts took time to show me a little bit of that history contained in the metal building in the middle of the airport.

The thousands of pilots that were trained here are memorialized in pictures and equipment that was used at the base.

O'Bart, "I'm sitting in a BT-13 Cockpit. This is the trainer like they used out here."

There is actually a complete BT-13 in the museum under restoration to flyable condition along with a scale model of a Navy Corsair hanging from the ceiling.

Like any museum, Wings of Honor is in a constant state of change. In the prep room display tables represent displays that soon will be out for the public.

Public like Navy WW2 Vet Jim Vancura from Wurth, Illinois.

"They don't really teach this in school. The kids today don't know this. They don't know what us veterans went through."

O'Bart, "They was over 5000 cadets that trained here and went on to the war. Many of them didn't come back.

The museum is located at the Walnut Ridge Airport about 3 miles North of Highway 67. It's a great historical time for the whole family.

Vancura, "This is great, really great especially us guys from 65, 66 years ago in the war. Most people have forgotten us, it's terrific, really great."

The museum is open from 9 - 5 Monday through Saturday and 1-5 on Sundays. No admission charge but donations are accepted.

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