WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force was recently selected by the U.S. Air Force History and Museums Program as the recipient of the 2014 Air Force Heritage Award for an exhibit titled “Whispering Death: The F-111A in Southeast Asia.”
The award recognizes outstanding achievements by Air Force History and Museums personnel that foster a better understanding and appreciation of the Air Force, its history and accomplishments.
The exhibit, which opened last summer in the museum’s Southeast Asia War Gallery, teaches visitors about the highly-advanced F-111A, an all-weather precision fighter-bomber that played a key role in operations over North Vietnam in 1972. In addition to the F-111A aircraft on display nearby, the exhibit features uniforms and personal memorabilia, such as the party suit worn by Maj. Fred de Jong, one of a select few who participated in operational test missions with the F-111.
The exhibit also includes an interactive component — a custom-built F-111A model that allows visitors to control its wings, illustrating the aircraft’s variable-sweep wings. F-111A pilots decreased drag by “sweeping” the wings back, which enabled the F-111A to fly at speeds greater than two times the speed of sound.
Project Manager and Museum Curator Roberta Carothers said the team is excited about the honor.
“It’s nice for the exhibits team to be recognized for our ongoing work on the Southeast Asia War Gallery,” Carothers said. “We are always looking for new ways to engage our visitors, and including more interactive features in our exhibits is one way to teach aviation concepts. It’s great to watch visitors learn about Air Force history and then experience a small part of it with features like the F-111 model.”
More information about this exhibit is available at www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=18098.
Planned in four phases, the Southeast Asia War Gallery renovation’s first phase was completed in the spring of 2011, and phase two was completed in the fall of 2012. Phase three is currently on-going.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free. For more information about the museum, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.
Story by Sarah Swan, National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.