Monday, August 8, 2016

Limping Into Savannah / “Flying 8-Ball” Museum

Originally Posted November 21, 2014

I like to take shots of my camping sites and set-ups wherever I go.
I left Tennessee last week on my southward “tar trek” to Savannah, Georgia. I want to see “the beach” – any beach, but Tybee Island is the ultimate goal for this leg of my journey. As yet, I’m still waiting for a “nice day” since this nationwide cold/snow snap kicked-in. What a mess, huh?

I was about 28 miles out heading toward my campground of choice when the dashboard lit up with a “check engine” warning light. It freaked me out, immediately. This is the first hint of anything to go wrong since I purchased this newer model SUV capable of towing my travel trailer. I pulled over, shut off the engine, popped the hood and checked the engine compartment. Absolutely nothing looked out-of-place or out-of-order from normal. The engine was running well up to that point … or so I thought.

Finding no apparent issues, I restarted the engine and listened carefully for anything that didn’t sound just right. I heard nothing, so I carefully drove forward, gaining speed and pulled out onto the highway as traffic permitted then drove the rest of the way with the CD player off … listening and watching the road and the dashboard gauges.

At the moment, I had to keep these in mind while navigating to my selected campground, as darkness loomed. Setting up by flashlight is a bit more difficult since some tasks take two hands to accomplish. I did what I could and essentially needed to do, then went inside, set-up the cable TV, my computer so forth, while my supper was on the stove. I’d finish up the set-up and awning extension early in the morning.

At the first opportunity, I took the car to an auto parts store to hook-up my car to their diagnostic device so that it could “talk” to the car’s on-board computer. The answer is (drum roll, please) … the Torque Converter Clutch Solenoid is stuck in the OFF position. The auto parts store did not have the part, but the bad news is that someone will have to drop the transmission fluid pan to access the part and replace it. Best estimates are: Parts=$80, Labor 8+hours at whatever their rate is.

Immediate repair will have to wait. I have no choice.

Instead, I proceeded to make plans to see whatever I can for free or reasonable admission prices. After paying the monthly rate for camping as well as a deposit for metered electricity use, available and budgeted funds are limited. I’m considering looking for a job – heaven forbid.

However, I took part of Monday – a rainy day – to visit the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force. This was the group of young men who defended England and Europe from the skies during World War II.

The Flying 8-Ball Museum as viewed from the access road.
This is the unassuming entrance, but a narrow view. On the grounds were an F-4 Phantom from the Vietnam War era, a MiG-17A and a Boeing B-47 Stratojet from the Cold War era. Inside were pictorial and video displays of genuine and involving lessons on the historical beginning causes of, the fighting of and women’s participation in the eventual victory in Europe during WW-II.

Vietnam War Era F-4 Phantom Jet. The U.S. Marine Corps also had F-4s in their combat inventory.
The museum is not dedicated to war itself, but rather the courage, dedication and determination of the men and women who served to stop the scourge of evil that was Nazi Germany. In the Combat Gallery are a few airplanes suspended from the ceiling while the actual B-17 “City of Savannah” is being restored little-by-little.

This B-17 Bomber, "City of Savannah" is a restoration project - in progress.
There were theater presentations of actual war footage beginning with the Battle of Britain, the Mission Experience and putting you into the video position of actually being on-board a B-17 during a bombing run over Europe while fending off attacks from Me-109s (Messerschmitt).

In WW-II, Air Force operations were based in England. It is fitting to have this English Chapel of the Fallen Eagles here.
Outside are the Memorial Gardens and a replica of an English-styled chapel called the Chapel of Fallen Eagles. Surrounding it all were memorial walls with name plates of airmen, crews and their planes. I didn’t take a lot of photos there, but rather tried to capture the spirit of the garden.

The Memorial Gardens - I roamed, viewed and experienced it with silence and all due respect.
This is but one view from just outside the museum doors. Notice the “flying 8-ball” insignia mosaic in the paving stones.

This reflecting pool was dedicated to Captain Benton F. Love, Jr. of the 351st Bombardment Group.
This is a reverse view of the reflecting pool. I wish I could come back after the lights come on and get another shot, but it wasn’t possible.

As I travel to see this beautiful countryside and meeting new people, I want to visit such places dedicated to the history and greatness of the citizens who helped make our great land, great. It is also my hope that folks discover these places to visit, enjoy and show your respect and reverence.

Thanks for your visit.

-30-

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