AMC Museum plans Saturday tribute to WWII Air Transport Command

Air Mobility Command Museum volunteer and retired C-5 pilot Terry Anderson, of Dover, checks out the new Air Transport Command exhibit to be unveiled Saturday. The Air Transport Command is the World War II era equivalent to today’s Air Mobility Command at Dover Air Force Base. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

Air Mobility Command Museum volunteer and retired C-5 pilot Terry Anderson, of Dover, checks out the new Air Transport Command exhibit to be unveiled Saturday. The Air Transport Command is the World War II era equivalent to today’s Air Mobility Command at Dover Air Force Base. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

DOVER — On Saturday, the Air Mobility Command Museum will pay homage to the members of World War II’s Air Transport Command — the ancestor to the current Air Mobility Command at Dover Air Force Base.

As most WWII veterans have aged into their 90s, the display’s debut also will serve as a final reunion for air transport veterans and their families.

One of those veterans, Jack Kinyon, is scheduled to make a “Hangar Flying” presentation of his experience in worldwide airlift at 1 p.m.

Mr. Kinyon, now 93, is one of the original air transport veterans, first serving as an enlisted man. Upon discharge, he remained with the command, serving as a civilian flight traffic clerk. Today, the job is known as loadmaster.

The dedication of the Air Transport Command display coincides with the 75th anniversary of the official formation on May 29, 1941, of the Ferrying Command, later renamed Air Transport before the U.S. entered World War II.

Jack Kinyon, 93, an Air Transport Command flight traffic clerk — similar to today’s Air Force loadmaster — will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Air Transport Command reunion at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover. His uniform and jacket are part of a new display at the museum. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

Jack Kinyon, 93, an Air Transport Command flight traffic clerk — similar to today’s Air Force loadmaster — will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Air Transport Command reunion at the Air Mobility Command Museum in Dover. His uniform and jacket are part of a new display at the museum. (Delaware State News/Andrew West)

“With the Ferrying Command, we were moving supplies mostly to Great Britain but once we entered the war, it changed its name to ATC and it was the first to move supplies from the U.S. to locations all over the world,” said museum director Mike Leister.

Air Transport was in charge of coordinating cargo flights of C-47s, C-54s, C-64 and C-87s, a bomber reconfigured to carry cargo.

Since WWII, Air Mobility has carried out the same mission and plays a vital role in moving troops and equipment to wherever they’re needed no matter the destination.

Transport exhibit

The new display features not only information about the WWII Air Transport Command but possessions Mr. Kinyon has held onto for the past 70 years. A medical blanket from the Battle of the Bulge was used to wrap patients on their way to Iceland or Newfoundland. Other items include his A-2 leather flight jacket and his WWII uniform.

Although the jacket — bearing his name in English, Hindi and Farsi — shows some wear, the uniform has survived the years in nearly pristine condition.

“It’s just like if you preserve a wedding dress,” Mr. Leister said. “You have it cleaned and boxed.

“And a lot of these guys who held on to things from the war were very careful about keeping them safe and packed away so they wouldn’t be damaged.”

The display also includes a time line, detailed information about Air Transport and video footage of some of its WWII missions.

An exhibit on the Air Transport Command will open at the Air Mobility Command Museum on May 21 at 11 a.m. The ATC was founded at the start of World War II and served as a model for the current Air Mobility Command which carries out the same duties at ATC like transporting personnel and supplies to bases across the globe. (Delaware State News/Ashton Brown)

An exhibit on the Air Transport Command will open at the Air Mobility Command Museum on May 21 at 11 a.m. The ATC was founded at the start of World War II and served as a model for the current Air Mobility Command which carries out the same duties at ATC like transporting personnel and supplies to bases across the globe. (Delaware State News/Ashton Brown)

All information and media used was donated by the ATC Association, a group of veterans of the Air Corps Ferrying and Air Transport commands of the U.S. Army Air Forces.

The museum

The AMC Museum frequently coordinates with other military organizations to develop new displays as the it faces both financial and staff limitations.

The museum has two other displays it is featuring, including an Explosive Ordinance Disposal section that shows equipment that has been used in Afghanistan and Iraq to dismantle explosives.

All the equipment on display is previous generations of tools actually used in the field, like bomb suits and robots.

The museum still is working on improving its C-47 which Mr. Leister confidently said is the best C-47 on display anywhere in the world.

It’s been almost totally restored to its D-Day glory from June 6, 1944, and is surrounded by the equipment it would have carried and dropped in WWII.

“In a perfect world, we would add and remove displays about once every six months or so, but we are a unique museum,” Mr. Leister said. “We’re the only museum dedicated exclusively to preserving the history of airlift and air-refueling history. There’s no other place people can see this kind of thing so we try to give people plenty of time to come by and see the exhibits we have.”

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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