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Three new exhibits open in Southeast Asia War Gallery

  • Published
  • By Sarah Swan
  • National Museum of the U.S. Air Force
Renovations continue in the Southeast Asia War Gallery at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Three new exhibits opened this month -- telling the stories of Close Air Support, Gunships, and the Air Force Reserves and Air National Guard.

"We are eager to move forward with these new storylines in the Southeast Asia War Gallery," said Roberta Carothers, project manager for phase three of the gallery improvements. "There are so many examples of heroism and sacrifices made by our Airmen during this war. These three exhibits will certainly enhance our ability to share the story of the Total Force in Southeast Asia."

Close Air Support -- sometimes called tactical air support -- gave American and South Vietnamese ground forces a tremendous military advantage. In "Dangerously Close!" visitors will learn about those advantages and see interesting artifacts such as a brass bell from the 90th Attack Squadron's hooch bar at Bien Hoa Air Base and dice provided by the Riviera Casino in Las Vegas and carried by then-Lt. Col. Marcus "Red" Oliphant as a good luck charm.

The Gunships exhibit highlights gunships during the Southeast Asia War. Able to remain airborne for hours, gunships provided devastating, accurate gunfire against many different types of ground targets. The exhibit also tells the story of Airman 1st Class John Levitow, one of only three enlisted Airmen to receive the Medal of Honor for action in Southeast Asia. Also included is an interactive component -- a push-button allows visitors to watch the movement of an AC-47 scale model to see how the aircraft was banked at 30 degrees during the firing run.

The Air Force Reserve (AFRES) and Air National Guard (ANG) primarily remained a Cold War strategic reserve in case a wider war broke out. A small number of these units deployed to Southeast Asia, while others reinforced the USAF in South Korea, Japan and other parts of the world. The Total Force Policy -- a direct result of lessons learned from the Southeast Asia War -- significantly changed the role of the AFRES and ANG by providing greater support, modern aircraft and the same readiness standards as active duty USAF units.

Planned in four phases, the Southeast Asia War Gallery renovation's first phase was completed in the spring of 2011, and phase two was completed in the fall of 2012. Phase three is currently on-going.

More information about the Southeast Asia War Gallery is available at

The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, is the world's largest military aviation museum. With free admission and parking, the museum features more than 360 aerospace vehicles and missiles and thousands of artifacts amid more than 17 acres of indoor exhibit space. Each year about one million visitors from around the world come to the museum. For more information, visit

NOTE TO PUBLIC: For more information, please contact the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at (937) 255-3286.

NOTE TO MEDIA: For more information, please contact Sarah Swan at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Public Affairs Division at (937) 255-1283.