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Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum
Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-2.jpg
Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum and Walk of Honor
Established 1978
Location 2017 N. Greenfield Rd.
Mesa, Arizona
Type Aircraft museum

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum, a.k.a. Airbase Arizona Aircraft Museum, was established in 1978, in Falcon Field in Mesa, Arizona. It is the 10th unit of the Commemorative Air Force and the home of one of the largest Commemorative Air Force units in the world. On exhibit are World War II artifacts, helicopters and classic American and foreign combat planes, many of which are the last remaining warbirds of their kinds.

Brief history

Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-3-1940
World War II hangar
Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-3 inch Mark 33 Deck Gun-USS Guam LPH-9-1
3-inch Mark 33 deck gun
Eddie Rickenbacker Nieuport 28
Eddie Rickenbacker with his Nieuport 28 – note offset guns

The Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum can trace its history to September 6, 1961, when the Commemorative Air Force was founded. The non-profit organization was chartered as a nonprofit Texas corporation in Dallas. Its mission was, and still is, to restore and preserve World War II-era combat aircraft. The idea of establishing the organization came about when in 1957, Lloyd Nolen and a small group of ex-service pilots from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas invested their money towards the purchase of a P-51 Mustang.

Aircraft enthusiasts in Arizona became interested in establishing a branch of the Commemorative Air Force in their home state. After months of searching, Falcon Field was chosen as the new site for the Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum. Falcon Field was established before World War II when Hollywood producer Leland Hayward and pilot John H. "Jack" Connelly founded Southwest Airways with the funding from Henry Fonda, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, James Stewart and Hoagy Carmichael. In 1977, a small group broke ground at Falcon Field and in 1978, the museum was officially opened to the public. The Arizona Wing became the 10th unit of the Commemorative Air Force.

The museum is situated inside an old World War II hangar built in 1941. In front of the museum's entrance is one of four propellers which were once installed on a B-29 Super Fortress. Also on display on the front lawn of the building is a 3-inch Mark 33 deck gun. The deck gun was originally mounted on the USS Guam for aircraft defense. It had the ability to fire 50 rounds a minute. There is a "Walk of Honor" located in front of the museum. The Walk of Honor is a tribute which recognizes the contributions made by Arizonans to the field of military aviation. Inductees are honored for their achievement with the installation of a special bronze plaque at the Museum.

The majority of the aircraft and exhibits are located inside the hangar while some in flying condition, are located outside on the airfield. The hangar also houses the museum's gift shop. Some of the aircraft date back to 1917, however, most of the aircraft are from World War II. On display in the museum are some modern post-World War II jet fighters. Also on display are military helicopters. Next door to the museum hangar is the Mechanics Hangar where some of the aircraft are repaired and restored. The museum is the home of one of the largest Commemorative Air Force units in the world. Also, on display are various artifacts related to the history of the warbirds, such as jackets worn by the pilots in World War II.


Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-Douglas C-47 Skytrain Dakota “Old Number 30”-3
C-47 Skytrain cockpit
Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-Lt. A Park Shaw exhibit
Lt. A. Park Shaw exhibit
Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-Robert P. Moore exhibit
Col. Robert P. Moore exhibit
Mesa-Arizona Commemorative Air Force Museum-4
World War II aviators jackets
  • Douglas C-47 Skytrain, which served with the 11th Troop Carrier Squadron. This aircraft flew highly classified missions transporting spies and supplies and rescuing wounded and refugees. This actual aircraft's missions were lost to history for 70 years. “Old Number 30” is named after a mule, serial number 30, that was one of four mules flown along with four partisan commandos in the dead of night from Brindisi, Italy to a top-secret site in the Balkans in 1944. Mule #30, along with 35 other mules hauled twelve 75-mm guns through the mountains to attack Nazi occupiers.
  • Beechcraft C-45 Expeditor
  • Douglas A-26C Invader named Miss Murphy Serial #: 44-35601. Built by Douglas Aircraft Company in 1942, during World War II. This aircraft also participated in the Korean and Vietnam wars
  • Douglas SBD Dauntless The aircraft is in Mechanics Hangar for restoration.
  • Lee-Wray Nieuport 17 (N124RX/1). Serial Number 251, this was a French fighter plane manufactured by Michael P. Wray and Company during World War I. It is currently in the Mechanics Hangar.
  • McDonnell Douglas F-4N Phantom II
  • Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21
  • Nieuport 28 C.1, a replica of the French biplane fighter aircraft flown by American Ace Eddie Rickenbacker during World War I.
  • Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon (N86492/492/BJ-K)
  • North American B-25 Mitchell named Maid in the Shade. This aircraft is one of 34 B-25Js still flying. This aircraft was used in America's first large-scale bombing offensive in the Philippines, sinking 8 ships and shooting down 5 planes. This aircraft is in the Mechanics Hangar.
  • Grumman TBF Avenger
  • North American P-51 Mustang originally named Dazzling Donna. Serial #: 44-74404. was repainted in June 2006, with then name of Stang for the movie "Thunder Over Reno".
  • Bell UH-1B Iroquois
  • Sikorsky H-19 Chickasaw (company model number S-55)
  • Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5
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