National Museum USAF to Host Pearl Harbor Remembrance

Curtis P-36A Hawk diorama with a portrayal of Lt. Phillip Rasmussen on display in the WWII Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force will commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a wreath and POW/MIA table that will be set up near the “Day of Infamy: The Pearl Harbor Attack” exhibit, and host a special World War II edition of “Plane Talks” in the museum’s WWII Gallery.

A portion of the Pearl Harbor exhibit on display in the WWII Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

The wreath and POW table, which will be on display Dec. 7-11, will be located near the P-36A Hawk, and the story of Lt. Phillip Rasmussen at Wheeler Field, Hawaii. Four pilots, including Rasmussen, took off in outdated P-36A aircraft and engaged the enemy over Kaneohe Bay. The museum’s P-36A exhibit depicts Rasmussen, in his pajamas, who had just arisen when the attack began, preparing to take off under fire in his P-36A. The actions of Rasmussen and his fellow pilots, while unable to change the course of the battle, were heroic examples of how American forces kept fighting even in the midst of crushing defeat.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, the museum will host “Plane Talks” in front of historic WWII aircraft and exhibits from 10:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Museum volunteers with diverse aviation backgrounds, including WWII pilot Jack Hampshire, will be available to discuss the history and role of the aircraft including the B-17F Memphis Belle, B-24J Liberator, the B-25 in the Doolittle Raiders exhibit, and the C-47 Skytrain.

This is the A-2 flying jacket worn by the donor, Col. (Ret.) Lew Sanders, when he reportedly became the first person in U.S. uniform to shoot down an enemy aircraft in World War II. Flying a P-36 of the 46th Fighter Squadron, he was one of a handful of USAAF pilots to get off the ground during the Pearl Harbor attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Ken LaRock)

The Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, thrust the United States into World War II. The surprise raid was meant to cripple U.S. ability to counter Japanese imperialism in the Pacific, and more than 2,300 Americans died in the attack. The next day, Congress declared war on Japan, and the Axis powers in Europe then declared war on the U.S. The Allied victory in WWII in 1945 set the stage for unprecedented American prosperity and global leadership in the postwar era. The anniversary of Pearl Harbor is celebrated in memory of courage, sacrifice, and national resolve.

Additional information on this and other upcoming events is available at:

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