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Air museum staff gets tour instead of gives tour

Photo Courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Steven Sevigny

Photo Courtesy of Tech. Sgt. Steven Sevigny

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE - East Granby, Conn. -- The New England Air Museum (NEAM) has always been a partner to the Connecticut Air National Guard. As we all know, the Air Museum is packed with aerospace history. The volunteers that escort visitors through the museum are a knowledgeable group of folks filled with historical facts and stories about everything that can be seen and touched. Since the 103rd is the third oldest Guard unit in the country, we have a fantastic amount of history that is an integral part of the military section at the museum. Unfortunately, our recent history has been a bit of an enigma to the Air Museum. Our fast-paced changes over the past five to eight years have even some of our own lost about what we do here. So, it was time to give the history teachers a lesson and add a few new pages to their books.

On the June 5, 2012, the staff of the NEAM piled into cars for the short drive to Bradley Air National Guard Base where their first stop was the Air Park just inside the main gate. What was intended to be a five-minute conversation about our aircraft and how they were recently restored turned into a lengthy conversation about an incredible amount of history. It included stories of different aircraft, different commanders and coworkers, and retirements going back as far as the 1950's.

The tour continued to the hangar where the group was greeted by two pilots and an awaiting C-21. After a thorough look at the aircraft, questions flew about the capabilities, the future, and the mission of the C-21. There were also questions about the possibility of future aircraft types, what missions they would have, and how it would impact the 103rd.

Continuing on from the hangar, the next stop was the Consolidated Repair Facility (CRF). Unlike the stop in the hangar, all but one member of the tour knew that the CRF shop existed. Many within the group knew that the 103rd flew C-21s but had never gotten to see one up close and talk with Airmen that worked on them. The CRF shop was an eye-opener for many of the NEAM staff. The staff got to hear about the history of the TF34 engine and the history behind the engine shop, its current mission, and possible future engine types.

The final stop of the tour was to the Hush House. The Airmen who work in the Hush House explained that the Hush House was important to the CRF and the unit as a whole. They continued with talking about the engine, and comparing it to various other manufacturers. The group also took some time looking into the control room and test cab to see how the engine runs.

At the end of the tour, the group returned to the Air Park. During the walk, members of the group talked among themselves about the day.

"I never knew they had so much going on here," "Everyone we met was very professional", and "this was so educational and very worthwhile to know what's going on here," were just a few of the quotes that could be heard from the quiet conversations.

Feedback received later that day simply stated that the entire group was very impressed and thanks were extended to all that met the group.

Once again, the members of the 103rd put their best foot forward and helped continue a partnership with the NEAM by keeping them current on how much the 103rd means to the community, state and country.