Veterans Honored at the Silent Wings Air Museum - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/19/02

Veterans Honored at the Silent Wings Air Museum

World War II Veterans and their families commemorated a very special group of pilots Saturday. Hundreds of Veterans were honored at the grand opening of the Silent Wings Air Museum here in Lubbock.

The Silent Wings Air Museum is dedicated to telling the history of a very special forgotten few. And the museum opened its doors for the first time bringing the history of the American Glider Pilot to life. After more than 50 years, these Veteran Glider Pilots are back in Lubbock to revisit their old training grounds and relive old memories.

"A museum in Lubbock would not only preserve the glider pilots heritage, but Lubbock's heritage."

"I think it's important to be where we trained," said Doug Wilmer who was a World War II Glider Pilot. 

"Many of us came through here and took our final training before we went to combat," said George Horton who was a World War II Glider Pilot.

Pictures and old war equipment are just a few items at the Silent Wings Museum telling the forgotten story of the American Glider Pilot.

"This is a two and release mechanism that the glider pilots used while they were flying. Now it had to be strong enough to hold a fully loaded glider but also light and wasy to operate and this is how it worked. Once the pilots were flown to their destination spot a lever is pulled and the glider is released from the two plane."

"That's where I sat when I was instructing."

You can even find Lieutenant George Horton's old parachute sitting at its battle station. "That's my parachute you see it?" But equipment alone does not compare to the memories of a very special group of men who risked their lives for our country's freedom.

"The American glider pilot was kept secret until 1974 after the war no one knew what the glider pilots did or how they did it so we're very not known and it's important that the people of America what we do because we are a very unusual group of people."

"This is a capping you might say to my career as a glider pilot and we went through a lot during the war and everything I guess coming back here after 50 something years has topped it off you know and it's a wonderful thing to remember all of these boys because history seemed like it's left us out so maybe this will bring it back."

The museum was open for Veterans only Saturday, but starting Sunday, October 20th everyone will be able to see for themselves what a wonderful exhibit this is. It will be open Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is located just west of the Lubbock International Airport.

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