“U.S. Freedom Pavilion” opens at WWII Museum

MICHAEL EBY Contributing writer
B-17 pictured inside the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.

The grand opening of the 'US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center' was on Saturday, Jan. 12.

It is the largest building on The National WWII Museum campus and the newest milestone in museum's expansion.

A highlight of the Pavilion is a B-17, largest of several aircraft hanging from the ceiling, which was donated by the Boeing Company along with $1 million dollars. Total cost of the Pavilion was $35 million dollars all of which was donated by citizens from all over the country.

During World War II the first daylight raid on Berlin was carried out by B-17s on Thursday March 9, 1944. Staff Sergeant Nolan J. "Country" Ruiz was a ball turret gunner on one of the B-17, earning him The Distinguished Unit Citation. Ruiz was shot down on a later mission and became a POW.

Another Iberville Parish resident Lt. Oscar G. Richard, III, of Sunshine was a bombardier on a B-17 and was shot down on his third mission in late 1943.

He wrote the book "Kriegie: An American POW in Germany" and in the EX-POW Bulletin of February 1995 he wrote "Hubert Zemke – A Man to Remember"

Another highlight of the US Freedom Pavilion is the interactive submarine experience FINAL MISSION: The USS Tang.

Based on the last war patrol of the USS Tang in the Pacific, visitors man the positions and perform the battle actions of the actual crew members as the sub engages the Japanese Imperial Naval Forces.

If you haven't been to the World War II Museum or haven't been there in a long time you need to put it on your 2013 to do list. It's recommend that you allow a minimum of three hours to view exhibits.