The Marine Corps will permanently close its only museum devoted solely to aviation on March 28 — a decision the institution’s foundation and volunteers have worked for the past decade to avoid.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego, attracts more than 35,000 visitors each year. Its collection of 48 aircraft includes the CH-46E Sea Knight that evacuated the U.S. ambassador from the roof of the American Embassy in Saigon in 1975, an OV-10 Bronco observation plane, and a World War II PBJ-IJ medium bomber.
The museum is run jointly by the Marine Corps and the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation. But in an era of tight budgets, the service determined it can no longer contribute the $460,000 it has provided annually to pay five employees and cover the costs of maintenance and utilities.