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Air Mobility Command Museum
AMCMuseum Aerial.JPG
Aerial view of the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware
Former name Dover AFB Historical Center
Established 1986 (1986)
Location Dover Air Force Base
Type Aviation museum
Founder General Walter Kross

The Air Mobility Command Museum (AMCM) is dedicated to military airlift and air refueling aircraft and the men and women who flew and maintained them. It has the largest and most complete collection of fully restored U.S. military cargo and tanker aircraft in the Eastern United States and is located about 1/2 mile south of Dover Air Force Base. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve and exhibit the artifacts and human stories significant to the development and employment of military airlift and air refueling in the USAF and the USAAF, as well as to portray the history of Dover Air Force Base.

Museum history

While the museum itself was not officially established until 1986, the idea for the museum developed as a result of an Air Force Reserve restoration project on the B-17G bomber "Shoo Shoo Baby" in 1978. This aircraft became the first of many to be restored for eventual display at the museum, which was still in the early stages of conceptualization. Then in 1986, preparations were formally advanced for the creation of an air museum at Dover AFB. At the same time, the C-47A "Turf and Sport Special" also underwent restoration, having been rejected by many other museums as "beyond salvage." The then Dover AFB Historical Center was officially recognized by the U.S. Air Force in 1995, moved from three hangars in the main area of the base to its present location in Hangar 1301 in June 1996, and its name was changed to Air Mobility Command Museum in February 1997. Hangar 1301 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance as the site of the US Army Air Force's rocket test center, and was restored in the 1990s. The facility encloses over 20,000 square feet of aircraft display gallery plus 1,300 square feet of exhibit rooms. Additionally, an attached 6,400 square foot building houses a theater, museum store, exhibit workshop, and various offices. The surrounding 100,000 square feet of outdoor ramp space allows for a closer inspection of the remaining aircraft in the collection.

Airlift history

Dover Air Force Base was originally built as a civilian airport that was modified for military use as a result of Public Law 812, which funded local governments to build airports in response to the outbreak of hostilities in Europe and Asia in 1939-40. Ten days after the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the War Department employed its emergency powers to lease Dover Municipal Airfield for the entirety of World War II. The air field would serve primarily as a base for anti-submarine operations, fighter pilot training, and aerial rocket testing and development. In September 1946, after the end of the war, Dover Army Airfield was placed in "inactive" status. Following the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service entity, the Airfield became Dover Air Force Base on January 13, 1948. Beginning in 1952, the primary mission of DAFB focused on military airlift due to the strategic location of the base on the Eastern Seaboard, and the base was designated as a permanent U.S. Air Force installation on December 22, 1953. During the Military Air Transport Service's existence from 1948 to 1965, a number of aircraft were utilized, such as the C-46, C-47, C-54, C-74 Globemaster, C-97 Stratofreighter, C-118, C-121, C-124, C-130, C-131, C-133, KC-135, and the C-141. Many are on display at the AMCM. The Military Airlift Command was another major command of the United States Air Force from 1966 to 1992. During this time, the Air Force was involved in such conflicts as the Vietnam War, Cold War, Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as humanitarian efforts including Operation Provide Comfort and the relief of former USSR satellite nations following its dissolution. Many of the aircraft in the museum's collection are from this era. Air Mobility Command, the current major command, was established June 1, 1992, and has been in existence ever since. Several aircraft from this period are in the museum's collection, including the C-141, C-9, and the C-130. Operational aircraft such as the C-5M and the C-17A that launch from the active side of Dover Air Force Base are visible from the museum as well.

Collections and exhibits

Aircraft collection

The Air Mobility Command Museum is home to a number of significant vintage aircraft from a variety of eras and major commands. Additionally, the AMC Museum houses a complete set of all significant Lockheed air lifters used by the Air Force and Army since World War II.

Attack aircraft

Bombers

B-17G Flying Fortress on display at the Air Mobility Command Museum
One of the last functional B-17s on display at the AMC Museum in Dover, Delaware.
  • Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress 44-83624 – Painted as "Sleepy Time Gal", serial number 2-107112. It is the only remaining aircraft from the 1948 Flying Bomb Project and was the last B-17 to drop bombs when it was used in comparison with more modern bombers.

Cargo/Tanker aircraft

C-9C Nightingale at the Air Mobility Command Museum
One of the first C-9C Nightingale on display at the AMC Museum in Dover, Delaware.
C-133B CargoMaster at the Air Mobility Command Museum
The last of the 50 C-133s on display at the AMC Museum in Dover, Delaware.
C-141A Starlifter at Air Mobility Command Museum
The first C-141A Starlifter built; on display at the AMC Museum in Dover, Delaware.
  • de Havilland Canada C-7A Caribou 63-9760
  • McDonnell Douglas C-9A Nightingale 67-22584 – It is the first C-9A delivered.
  • Beechcraft C-45G Expeditor 51-11795 – It was built as an AT-11 in 1943 and manufactured to C-45G configuration in 1953. It later became the CIA's first C-45 and served in Southeast Asia from 1960 to 1974.
  • Douglas C-47A Skytrain 42-92841 "Turf & Sport Special"
  • Douglas C-54M Skymaster 44-9030 – It is the only surviving "M" variant of the C-54, which transported coal during the Berlin Airlift and was retired in 1973.
  • Fairchild C-119G Flying Boxcar RCAF 22118 – It served with the Royal Canadian Air Force and was later used as a firefighting aircraft by Hawkins & Powers Aviation.
  • Lockheed L-1049E Super Constellation c/n 4557 – It was never used by the military, but is painted as a C-121C.
  • Fairchild C-123K Provider 54-0658
  • Douglas C-124A Globemaster II 49-0258 – It is the only surviving "A" variant and oldest surviving C-124.
  • Lockheed C-130E Hercules 69-6580
  • Convair C-131D Samaritan 55-295
  • Douglas C-133B Cargomaster 59-0536 – Completed in 1961, it was the last C-133 built.
  • Lockheed C-141A Starlifter 61-2775 – It is the first C-141 built, spent its entire service life in a test role, and a one point became the only four engine jet to tow a glider.
  • Lockheed C-141B Starlifter 64-0626 – The last C-141 stationed at Dover AFB, it was retired at the base in February 1996 when a crack in the main landing gear trunnion stranded it there.
  • Lockheed C-5A Galaxy 69-0014
  • Boeing KC-97L Stratofreighter 53-230
  • Boeing KC-135E Stratotanker 57-1507 – In April 1975 it was the first all jet tanker to serve in the Air National Guard. It also flew the last operational mission of a KC-135 "E" variant on 14 July 2009.
  • McDonnell Douglas VC-9C 73-1682

Fighters

  • McDonnell F-101B Voodoo 59-0428
  • Convair F-106A Delta Dart 59-0023 – Once based at Dover AFB with the 95th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, it became a target drone and is now one of only six aircraft to survive the program.

Gliders

  • Waco CG-4A 45-15009
  • Laister-Kauffman TG-4A 42-53078

Helicopters

Trainers

  • Vultee BT-13 Valiant 42-1639
  • Lockheed T-33A 52-9497
  • Boeing-Stearman PT-17 Kaydet – It was built from parts and is painted as 121741, which is the date Dover AFB opened.

Utility aircraft

  • Cessna U-3 "Blue Canoe" 58-2126

Other exhibits and attractions

Air Mobility Command Museum Control Tower
The exhibit air control tower on display at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover, Delaware. The tower stood about 103 feet tall when in operation, but currently stands 39 feet high at the museum.

In addition to the aircraft and non-aircraft collections, the museum has a few other notable attractions. These include a flight simulator, commemoration park outside the museum building, and the retired control tower cab, which served as Dover AFB's control tower from 1956 to 2009.

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