D-Day remembered at the Air Zoo

It was truly an amazing weekend for our Air Zoo family and the Kalamazoo community!  Quick recap - Our talented Exhibits & Collections team debuted a breathtaking display for the public, surrounding the significant roles airplanes, paratroopers and all things aviation played in the largest seaborne invasion in world history, D-Day, on June 6, 1944.  As America reflects on the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019, the Air Zoo's exhibition which explores the invasion through the lens of all things air, will be on display for visitors.

See D-Day through the eyes of POWs glider pilot Darryl Waters and paratrooper George Rosie. Through artifacts from the Air Zoo’s collection, including aircraft in our Flight Innovation Center, discover the roles played by airplanes such as the P-47 Thunderbolt, C-47 Skytrain, and WACO CG-4A. View P-47 gun camera footage, find out what paratroopers wore as they leapt from C-47s, and get to know how Allied Forces hauled men, machines, and medicine to Normandy in the sky in what some called a “plywood coffin” during that historic operation.

Local and Michigan-based companies who supported air power and defense are featured, such as Gibson Guitar. Uncover the secret to the paratrooper’s boot heel.  Learn how invasion stripes helped pilots fend off friendly fire when the skies were awash with aircraft and find out how many stripes you can “paint” against a ticking stopwatch! You’ll leave aware of how essential pilots, planes, and parachutes were to Allied success.


In conjunction with the exhibit's opening weekend, visitors also had the opportunity to see the Yankee Air Museum’s pristine Boeing B-17G Yankee Lady. Spectators enjoyed seeing the mighty aircraft take off and land from the Flight Discovery Center courtyard and observation lounge and several hundred chose to purchase tours and rides over the three day stay.  If you would like more information on Yankee Air Museum and their aircraft, visit: http://yankeeairmuseum.org/. Photos can be found on our Facebook and Instagram accounts - check them out!

Visitors of the Flight Innovation Center, and the newly revealed WWII exhibit were also immersed in the era as the 101st Airborne greeted visitors in full dress and were sharing history and stories geared around artifacts they brought for display on Friday, May 31st and Saturday, June 1st! The 101st Airborne is a platoon sized unit whose 13 veteran members (currently) from Kalamazoo, Metro Detroit, and Ohio serve/served in the US Army, US Coast Guard, Marine Corps, and Michigan National Guard.  They portray Dog Company from the second battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment and along with Easy Company and Fox Company have 80 members between the East Coast and Michigan!  

Learn more about the 101st on Instagram or on the Fox Company Website. Photos of their visit can also be found on our Facebook and Instagram accounts!

Posted by Nikki Statler at 2:30 PM
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