A Force for Good: New USAF museum exhibit highlights humanitarian missions



A new permanent exhibit opening at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force highlights the military branch’s humanitarian missions.

The grand opening celebration featuring hands-on activities, demonstrations, guest speakers and giveaways is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission and parking are free for the museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

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The new exhibit n the museum’s Global Reach Gallery focuses on five mission areas: aerial delivery, global firefighting, relief and rescue, goodwill missions and critical care. Displays of note are two loaded pallets suspended from the ceiling simulating an air drop, a multi-player video game featuring the Thai Cave Rescue, and a full-sized Transport Isolation System showing the care for quarantined patients during flight.

Gen. Mike Minihan, who commands the Air Mobility Command, was at the museum Friday at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for the unveiling of the new exhibit, which he said shows the humanitarian side of missions within the Air Mobility Command.

“The exhibit celebrates not only the airplanes and equipment that are essential to executing the humanitarian missions inside Air Mobility Command but also the people that make it happen,” he said. “Whether you fly, fix or support, it is essential to making the mission happen and to delivering hope around the world.”

Throughout the day, visitors will have the chance to participate in activities, including model aircraft cargo drops, parachute drops (between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. or while supplies last) from the Space Gallery balcony, strapping into a parachute harness and playing humanitarian mission trivia.

“This exhibit brings to light important duties of the Air Force mission that often do not get enough recognition,” said Christina Douglass, museum curator. “The stories that are highlighted in the exhibit are truly amazing and we encourage everyone to come out to see this new exhibit and learn more about all that the Air Force has contributed to help make our world a better place.”

Featured guest speakers will include Master Sgt. Kenneth O’Brien, who will share his experience in the Thai Cave Rescue, and Lt. Col. Joshua Gustafson, who will talk about the REACH 725 COVID evacuation.

Also, the museum theater at 1 and 4 p.m. will screen the movie “Rescue.”

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force is the world’s largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 350 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 19 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year thousands of visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit www.nationalmuseum.af.mil.

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