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The FM-2 Wildcat now has wings!! Amazing job by the Air Zoo restoration team - we can’t wait to see it on display here at the American Heritage Museum in July! ... See MoreSee Less
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Great aviator Dick Rutan has passed away - Lt. Col. (Ret.) Richard Glenn Rutan flew west on Friday, May 3, 2024 at 7:08 PM PDT The last time Dick Rutan flew towards the western horizon was on December 14, 1986 when he and copilot Jeana Yeager set the last great aviation record by flying around the world, nonstop and unrefueled, in nine days, three minutes and 44 seconds in an aircraft called 'Voyager,' designed by his younger brother, legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan.A highly decorated Vietnam veteran, Dick Rutan flew 325 combat missions and was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal with three silver oak leaf clusters, the Collier Trophy and was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross – twice. During his time in the skies over Vietnam, Dick was a member of an elite group of Fast Forward Air Controllers, often loitering over enemy anti-aircraft positions for six hours or more in a single sortie. These extremely hazardous missions had the call sign 'Misty'; Dick Rutan was, and will forever be, Misty Four-Zero. He spent his last day in the company of friends and family, including his brother, Burt, and passed away peacefully at Kootenai Health Hospital in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, in the company of his loving wife of 25 years, Kris Rutan. He is survived by daughters Holly Hogan and Jill Hoffman, and his four grandchildren, Jack, Sean, Noelle, and Haley.For more information about his incredible flight around the world see: nationalaviation.org/most-incredible-flight-ever-rutan-model-76-voyager/ ... See MoreSee Less
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Today is Holocaust Remembrance Day - The Holocaust stands as one of the darkest chapters in human history, and it is crucial to remember this atrocity for several compelling reasons. First and foremost, the Holocaust serves as a stark reminder of the extreme consequences of hatred, discrimination, and prejudice. The systematic genocide orchestrated by the Nazi regime resulted in the mass murder of six million Jews, along with millions of others who were targeted based on their ethnicity, political beliefs, disabilities, and sexual orientation. By remembering the Holocaust, we are reminded of the devastating impact of unchecked bigotry and intolerance, compelling us to actively work towards a world that embraces diversity and promotes inclusivity.It is crucial to remember and understand this horrific event so to prevent its repetition. Historical artifacts play a vital role in educating people about the Holocaust, and among them, this Deutsche Reichsbahn rail car holds profound significance in offering insights into this tragic period. By preserving this artifact and examining the rail car's historical importance, we can gain a deeper understanding of the Holocaust and its lasting impact on humanity.During World War II, Nazi Germany's national railway system, the Deutsche Reichsbahn, played a critical role in orchestrating the Holocaust. What was once a mere utilitarian means of transportation became a haunting symbol of suffering. Transformed into vessels of misery, these rail cars carried millions of innocent victims to a horrible destination from which many would never return. A logistical transportation infrastructure that enabled the state-sponsored persecution, mass deportation, and murder of millions by Nazi Germany.At the American Heritage Museum, the display of this original WWII cattle car acts as a powerful symbol, connecting visitors to the reality of the Holocaust as inflicted by Nazi Germany and other Axis collaborators. Standing in front of this relic, one can imagine the unimaginable: the cramped conditions endured for days, the fear, the uncertainty, and the sheer terror that innocent men, women, and children endured as they were transported to their tragic fate. It is a tangible representation of the suffering and dehumanization inflicted upon millions, allowing visitors to establish a personal and emotional connection with the victims. The international community must remain vigilant against the rise of extremism and totalitarian ideologies that threaten the fundamental rights and dignity of individuals. Education about the Holocaust and the tools used to execute this genocide serves as a powerful tool to cultivate empathy, tolerance, and understanding, fostering a global consciousness that rejects discrimination and upholds the principles of justice and equality.For more information see: www.americanheritagemuseum.org/exhibits/world-war-ii/holocaust-liberation/encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/introduction-to-the-holocaust ... See MoreSee Less
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Couple more shots of the M24 Chaffee maintenance and restoration. Will be ready to go for the WWII Tank Demonstration weekend on May 25th and 26th. For more information regarding this M24 tank see: www.americanheritagemuseum.org/tank-driving-experiences-and-tank-rides/m24-chaffee-wwii-tank-driv... ... See MoreSee Less
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Battle of the Bulge


Jagdpanzer 38 Hetzer
– GER | TANK DESTROYER

M4A3E2 Sherman “Jumbo” – USA | TANK

M16 Half-Track / M45 Quadmount – USA | PERSONNEL CARRIER/ANTI-AIRCRAFT

M5 3-inch Gun – USA | ANTI-TANK GUN

M5A1 13 ton High-Speed Tractor – USA | ARTILLERY TRACTOR

M8 Scott – USA | HOWITZER MOTOR CARRIAGE

After the breakout from Normandy at the end of July 1944, and the Allied landings in southern France on August 15th, 1944, the Allies advanced toward Germany’s borders very quickly. But then a rapid thrust into the Netherlands was blocked by recovering German forces, compelling the Allies to retreat out of Holland. The British slowly retook the Scheldt estuary to allow use of the key port of Antwerp. Canadians advanced a second time into the Netherlands in hard winter fighting. American and French armies attacked the fortified Siegfried Line and Metz farther south, while other Americans bogged down in close and bloody fighting in the Huertgen Forest. The nearby Ardennes Forest, where Americans had fought Germans in WWI in 1918, looked to be a quiet sector. It soon turned into a bloody battle zone when the German Army launched a surprise counterattack.

The Battle of the Bulge, named for the bulge in American lines created by the German attack, is also known as the Ardennes Offensive. It was the last major German offensive campaign on the Western Front during World War II. It took place from December 16th, 1944 to January 25th, 1945. It was launched through the densely forested Ardennes region of eastern Belgium, northeast France, and Luxembourg. The offensive was intended to stop Allied use of the Belgian port of Antwerp and to split the Allied lines, allowing the Germans to divide the Allied armies and stave off looming defeat for a little while longer. If the attack were to succeed in capturing Antwerp, four complete armies would be trapped without supplies behind German lines. Unfortunately for German ambitions, they did not have the tanks, aircraft, fuel or offensive punch left to even reach Antwerp. Still, many men would die trying while others died to stop them, then force defeat on the Nazi regime.

American forces bore the brunt of the attack and incurred their highest casualties of any operation during the war. The battle also severely depleted Germany’s armored forces and all but eliminated the last of its air forces (Luftwaffe). The Germans’ initial attack involved 410,000 men; just over 1,400 tanks, tank destroyers, and assault guns; 2,600 artillery pieces; 1,600 anti-tank guns; and over 1,000 combat aircraft. Around 98,000 Germans were killed, missing, wounded in action, or captured. For the Americans, out of a peak of 610,000 troops, 89,000 became casualties. Over 19,000 were killed.  The “Bulge” was one of the largest and bloodiest single battle fought by the United States in World War II and the third-deadliest campaign in American history (behind the Battle of Normandy 1st, and the Meuse–Argonne offensive that was a major part of the final Allied offensive of World War I that stretched along the entire Western Front).

During World War II, most U.S. black soldiers in Europe still served only in maintenance or service positions, or in segregated units, although a black combat division saw extensive action against the Japanese in Burma. Because of troop shortages during the Battle of the Bulge, Eisenhower decided to integrate the service for the first time. This was an important step toward a desegregated United States military, although that did not formally take place until after the war ended. More than 2,000 black soldiers volunteered to carry rifles and go to the front. Others served a vital role as drivers of supply trucks that ran 24 hours a day in the “Red Ball Express.” The 761st tank battalion was the first African American tank battalion to see combat in World War II. The “Black Panthers” received nearly 400 combat decorations, fighting in France, in Belgium during the Bulge, and ending the war in south Germany and Austria.

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WWII TANK DEMONSTRATION WEEKEND SATURDAY & SUNDAY

If you are visiting the museum this Saturday (5/25) and Sunday (5/26), please purchase Event Tickets at the link below. General Admission tickets to just the museum are not available this weekend - only event tickets are available.