The Evil Princess and I are “baby boomers,” the children of The Greatest Generation that fought World War II.  En route from teaching a class for Scott Merrick and Bill Long in Slidell, Louisiana, we took Bill’s advice and budgeted an extra day to tour the WWII Museum in New Orleans.  We could have easily spent more than the one full day in that place of honor.

They did not neglect the home front, and we couldn’t help but notice that the furnishings, appliances, and fashions were pretty much the same as our early childhoods in two different parts of the country.

The exhibits were breathtaking. The combat aircraft were smaller than they look in photos and in movies.  The enthusiastic patriotism of the time was alive in the volunteer docents who were always ready to help.

Some things have changed.  Some things haven’t.  I was carrying a Colt .45 automatic and a Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver, neither quite the models on display from GI issue of the period, but close enough to feel suitably dressed for the occasion.  I fought back the urge to go to the on-premises souvenir shop and buy a fedora to go with them.

On from here to another celebration of American Freedom, the NRA Annual Meeting in Dallas. We’ll be reporting from there. If you’re going to be there, come and say hi; I’ll be at the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network booth Saturday 4-6PM and Sunday Noon to 2PM.

Here’s just a small part of the museum.

US Small Arms of WWII.

US Small Arms, Pacific Theater.

Take a moment with FDR.

It’s frightening just how small US forces had become compared to those of Japan and particularly Germany at the start of the war.

Cockpit of a B-24 bomber.

B-25 bomber.

The term “bristling with guns” fit a lot of our combat aircraft.

We counted 18 .50 caliber Browning machine guns on one B-25. These were clustered at the nose.



  1. Hi,
    Wow, what a place…. We have a small museum up here at Camp Ripley in central MN….. Very well equipped… I live about 10 mi from there if you’re ever up this way…


  2. Nice work at the ww2 museum. Pix were excellent. Thank you for showing them.
    I was cop in Haverhill, NH PD when you gave a class there, i believe on the Second Chance vest about 1983 or so. You and i are old timers. Keep it up, Mas.
    Bernie Marvin
    Piermont, NH

  3. The wife and I didn’t get the chance to visit the museum when we were there. Seeing your comments surely makes me regret not going to the museum. Bummer

  4. Outstanding!

    If you are ever in Fredericksburg, TX you need to see the WWII Pacific War museum. It is absolutely great.

    On the way there I wondered why did they put a Pacific War Museum in TX?!?!?! Well, I found out, that Fredericksburg is the home town of Admiral Nimitz, so it all made sense.
    There is so much to see that the tickets are for two days. We went both days and still didn’t see it all, of course we tend to read everything in the Museum.

  5. Another museum you should try to see is a Vietnam War memorial begun by one man for his son, a Marine who died in Vietnam. It is in AngelFire, New Mexico. Pretty much the middle of nowhere. You’ll find it on line and get much more info than I could give.

  6. B25J. There was an H model with a 75mm in the nose, recoil reportedly moved the plane backwards and buckled the frame.
    Turned out 8 .50 cals we’re enough to rip a Japanese destroyer in half, no cannon necessary.

  7. Mas, that B-25 has a gunship package, originally developed as part of the aptly named “Pappy” Gunn’s low-level attack techniques against ships and airbases in the Southwest Pacific. Some other versions only had a couple machine guns to help with aiming, trading the rest for a hand-loaded 75mm cannon which was usually a crowd-pleaser in places like the Bismarck Sea.

    Interestingly, that B-17 in the next-to-last photo appears to be wearing a paint scheme only applied to a very few birds that cycled through the Hawaiian Air Depot; soon after the Liberators were found more suitable for the long overwater ranges and other than lighter loads like executive transports and command ships the Forts were soon transferred entirely to the ETO.

    Sorry to get carried away with the geekery, but the PTO and in particular “MacArthur’s War” is kinda my thing. 🙂

  8. My father, now passed, flew the B-25 in the 9th Army Air Force in the last half of WWII European theater. His group was named “Bridge Busters” since that was a frequent target for them. The B-25 could be used as a ground attack aircraft, hence the 50s in the nose. The aircraft was referred to as a “Hot Rock” because of its high speed that had to be maintained at all times; loss of power and speed could result in it dropping like a rock.
    He went on to fly B-47s in SAC under Gen Curtis LeMay.
    The 1940s and 50s were the highest of times and the lowest of times.

  9. Very cool!
    Definitely on my list of places I’d like to visit.
    Thanks for the recommendation!

  10. My family lost three KIA in World War II, one in France, one in Tunisia and one in the Philippines. As a 100% service-connected disabled Army veteran (parachute accident) who receives health care at our local VA Medical Center, I have the distinct honor to meet with regularity living World War II veterans who exude courage, character and vibrant love for the USA. I am adding the World War II Museum to my “must visit” list. God bless the living and deceased heroes who saved the world from a true Axis of evil that came crashing down in May and August of 1945.

  11. Nothing quite matches seeing this stuff in person, as I found out in college when I was doing a report on Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner. As luck would have it, an exhibition came to the local airport during which both the B-17 and Heinkel 111 bombers were flown in, when I was working on my paper. Tours of both were offered, we took advantage of that, and I gained an entirely new perspective of what it was like to serve on these aircraft and what type of person would be likely to be selected as flight crew. For instance, since I’m 6’2″,I would never have got off the ground.
    Very interesting piece, thanks for sharing uncle Mas!

    • Paul, I had not heard of the poem “The Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” by Randall Jarrell until I read your post. I just looked it up and read it. What an amazing, haunting piece of literature. Thank you for mentioning it.
      Best wishes,
      John Mohan

      • John, you’re more than welcome, and thank you for the author’s name as well. If you’re at all Irish as I am, or a serious literary fan, another good one is The Sniper by Liam O’Flaherty, which takes place during the Irish Civil War. Check it out, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

        Paul Bardal (AZ)

  12. If you get the opportunity to visit the Normandy coast see all the museums there. You might have the impression the French don’t like Americans, but after 74 years they are still celebrating the arrival of the American Army to throw out the Germans.

  13. Next time you’re in San Antonio, take the day trip out to Fredricksburg to see the Nimitz Museum of the Pacific War. It’s on par with the WWII museum, if not even better, IMHO.

    • “Better” is not the standard. Inspiring the present generations to appreciate what its parents and grandparents accomplished is the point. I’m a deck tour guide on the WW 2 Museum’s PT 305 (check out ). The goal is to bring to life them that won the war.

    • I’ll second that. The Nimitz has a WWII reenactor group, and one of their people came to our 2011 Texas Concealed Handgun Association conference and recounted the history of the 1911.

      My reporter wife covered their program on the 50th anniversary of VJ Day, and I tagged along as “Military Consultant.” Great day, and we both won awards for what we wrote.

      When the Fredericksburg High School Band passed during the parade, I think I was the only one that noticed that on both sides of each of their bass drums it said “Yamaha.”

  14. Mass, the B-25’s with all the guns in the nose were developed to stop the Japs from coming down “The Slot”. These would stop the barges and tin cans and prevent troops from reinforcing those already on “THE ‘canal”. Rumor has it that when all the guns were firing, it was like hitting a wall-almost stopped the plane in mid air.

  15. Joe Foss (Tom Brokaw’s mentor in S Dakota) always bristled at the Greatest Generation hype: “We weren’t the greatest. We just did what we had to do.” Joe–with many many others–believed that the Founders were The Greatest Generation of Americans because they faced vastly greater odds, trying to achieve something that had never been done. Several years ago I crunched the numbers: the Allies outnumbered the Axis about 6-1 with a similar disparity in GDP, and the US alone outproduced the Axis by something approaching infinity. Throw in the Brit Empire, USSR and China, and the war was only going to end one way. But it didn’t always look that way at the time, especially c. 1939-41.

  16. Thanks for taking the time to post this, Mas. My father was a waist-gunner and radio operator on a B-25. He survived 52 missions which took him through the North African, European aspects of the war. There’s a museum in Phoenix that has a few aircraft from that era. It’s truly inspiring.

    I am privileged to work with our Veterans here a the local VA in Prescott, AZ. I wish more people would spend a little time with them, it’s such a rewarding and humbling experience.

    I think you’d look good in a fedora, Mas…

    Thanks for all the work you do.

  17. My Army Air Corps father-in-law flew out of Iceland in the belly of a PBY, hunting submarines. On the way back to base they would take bets on how many aircraft had slid off the icy runways.

  18. If you haven’t yet and the opportunity presents itself, take a look at the WWI memorial in KC. My two favorite exhibits are the cannon and the poppy field.

    My father was a B17 electrician and frequently commented how the real size inside was greatly exaggerated on the screen. This was always followed by tales of flying 3 B17’s toward England and getting one there by scavenging parts in Newfoundland, Iceland, and Greenland. Before he passed, I had the opportunity to buy him stock in a restoration project B17 in Seattle. When it was finished, they were nice enough to invite him up for it’s flight. Unfortunately his health did not allow us to make the trip.

    Now I feel old so I’ll sign out.

  19. How small US Forces were at the start of WW2 compared to the Axis. “Awaken a sleeping giant . . .” Admiral Yamamoto (atrib)

  20. Here’s a message to only “Do Business” with Banks, & other Financial Firm’s, WHO SUPPORT the U.S.Constitution, and the Second Amendment, OR Regret It Later!

    We are contacting YOU, OUR Elected Federal Congressional (At Large), because WE stand with other 1.5 Million Conservative Voting Member’s of the Gun Owners of America (GOA), and Strongly Demand that YOU Do not support the S. 2155 without the inclusion of an amendment that stops federally-backed banks from discriminating against the lawful exercise of the Second Amendment.

    Obama’s Operation Choke Point program was clearly intended to strangle the exercise of the Second Amendment by shutting down gun dealers and manufacturers.

    Now, several very large financial institutions, which are given quasi-monopoly status by federal regulation and protected by potential taxpayer bailouts, are trying to do the same. These include banks like Citibank and Bank of America.

    And among the policies they have implemented are policies refusing to provide certain banking services to businesses which lawfully offer the sale of semi-automatic firearms to lawful purchasers.

    Businesses, generally, have a right to do business with whoever they want. However, these banks, have been allowed to conduct business as quasi-monopolies by federal regulation, and are guaranteed from failure by funds provided by the American taxpayer.

    There fore, WE Again Strongly Demand that YOU do not allow the Dodd-Frank legislation (S. 2155) to pass the House without adding the following language: “No financial institution regulated under the provisions of this Act may discriminate against any person or entity based on the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights.”

  21. That museum is on my to do list with my family. Mas, if you are ever near Hattiesburg, MS the WWII museum at Camp Shelby is a great one to visit.

  22. Thanks for the visit report, Uncle Mas. The WWII Museum in New Orleans really is a must-visit for anyone with an interest in the war.

    It was a thrill to see the B-24, as one of my uncles (now passed) served in one, including the infamous Ploesti Raid (, against the oil facilities in Romania. His aircraft was destroyed later in the war (air raid while it was on the ground). He was the only survivor when his bomber was hit.

    We’ve been to the Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg several times and plan to go again. A Japanese midget submarine from the Pearl Harbor attack ( is on display there.

    Hope you can get out to Fredericksburg next time you’re in Texas. If you go to the website for the museum, you can see when the reenactors are presenting. It’s worth timing your visit to see them as well as the museum.

    Thank you for the photos!


Comments are closed.