July 24, 2016
The story of my “shipwreck” seems never ending. Today was my seventh day stranded here while the truck is being repaired. The shop is not even open today and I doubt that any amount of “pressure” from the Dallas HQ has had any effect to speed things up. I have decided to accept what I cannot change and make the best of the time I have here. If life hands you lemons, make lemonade, as they tritely say. I have already recounted my trip to the Air and Space Museum.
But there is more to the story.
There is another part of the National Air and Space Museum. The one on the Mall in D.C. is impressive but if you see it all, you have not yet seen even half of the story. The Mall location does not have the space to show the really big air/space craft in their entirety. A much larger venue was required and a fellow named Steve F. Udvar-Hazy a pilot and airline magnate, donated some sixty six Million dollars to make such a place a reality. For that reason the facility, at Dulles Airport is named for him. I couldn’t get a good picture from the bus, so here is a screen grab that shows the place:
Friday, I had a goal in mind and today was no different. A brief and partial family history lesson is required to set this one up. My father was not involved in World War II, mainly because he was eleven years old at the time of Pearl Harbor and he was just recovering from that bone disease that almost cost his leg and the radical surgery that saved same. But Dad’s older brother was Louis D. Campbell Jr. who was always referred to as L.D. I believe he was born in 1922 or 1923, which would have made him military age by December of 1940, when he enlisted in the Army. I have seen his recruitment records and they say that he was to be assigned to an artillery unit in the Philippines. I am not sure what happened, but L.D. wound up in the Army Air Corps and worked his way up to command of a B-17 in Europe and later he flew B-29’s in the Pacific. He served the entire duration of both World War II and the Korean War. In my family’s oral history he is said to have flown one hundred and ten combat missions. He started as a “Buck Private” and retired as a Major. Upon my father’s death almost 20 years ago, I inherited a photo of L.D. and his crew in front of a B-17. Also, among my father’s papers was a tragically sad, hand written letter from L.D. to Dad who was, by then his only surviving family member. In it, he detailed his failing struggle against Cancer of the esophagus. He died not long after that and is buried somewhere near Tyler, Texas. I also inherited the flag that had covered his coffin.
So, today’s “Pilgrimage” is to see a B-29 like the ones L.D. flew in the Pacific. You see it below. In the last photo you see why I call it the B-29.
This is the Enola Gay, which carried the first Atomic Bomb. (L.D. never flew this particular B-29).
You can see from the photos below that there is plenty more to enjoy. If ever you are at Dulles for a long layover, find “Curb 2E”. A shuttle bus will arrive presently and for $1.75, will take you to this wonderful place in 15 minutes. Admission is free, IMAX movies are reasonable and food is McDonalds.
If you have more than a few hours, that same curb is where you can take a bus (5A) to L’Enfant Station, which is a few blocks from the National Mall where you can see the other Museums, Capitol, Washington Monument, etc. It costs seven dollars, it makes only two intermediate stops (a Park and Ride and Rosslyn Station) and it takes about an hour.
At the Museum,