I visited the Naval Heritage museum located on the Seaplane base last week. The guard at the gate waved me in and directed me to the huge PBY display plane on my left.
It’s open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It’s free, but donations are accepted.
The center houses displays covering WWII, Korea, Vietnam and post-Vietnam.
I enjoyed viewing a film titled, “In Defense of Their Nation,” narrated by Oak Harbor residents who lived during WWII, Jo Balda, Dorothy Neil, Bob Muzzall, J. Eerkes and Wes Westland.
They welcomed the Navy to Oak Harbor after 10 years of the Depression following 1929.
They talked about their duty to support the military and accept the noise the PBY’s made, practicing their take offs and landings, to ready themselves against Japan.
It was music to my ears because I believe this sacrifice by citizens contributed to the defense of their nation. My father flew an SBD Dauntless from the USS Yorktown CV-10 in 1943.
My brother flew a A-4 SkyHawk off the USS Hancock CVA-19 in 1969.
They both returned to our family because they were able to complete hundreds of practice landings on “outlying fields” before they had to land on a postage stamp size carrier, at night, in rough seas, and not kill those on board if they were not perfect.
Please visit the Naval Heritage Center and come down to the rally we have been holding every 10 a.m. Saturday at Pioneer Way and State Highway 20 in support of Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and Outlying Field Coupeville.