PROTECTION THROUGH AIR POWER
Located on Del Rio’s South Main Street across from the Val Verde County courthouse, the Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum houses an archive of information and artifacts from nearby Laughlin Air Force Base and the early years of aviation in Val Verde County. The museum was created by the Laughlin Heritage Foundation with a mission to “inform and educate the public on the important role of air power in sustaining the national security of the United States”. The foundation has made a concerted effort to populate its museum space with items and exhibits of historical significance, including artifacts related to the Cold War Era Cuban Missile Crisis. In addition, visitors can examine an aircraft engine from a U-2 aircraft (an ultra-high altitude reconnaissance plane), a seal from Laughlin Air Force Base’s flight control tower, and small scale models of aircraft.
One of the organization’s founders, retired Colonel Victor Milam, served three tours in Vietnam as a U-2 “Dragon Lady” pilot. Milam explained some of the inspiration for the museum’s creation in a 2006 interview. “We had all of these great items in storage just collecting dust,” Milam said, “This space was donated to us by a local businessman and gave us a way to show these great pieces of history to the public.”
In addition to the engine associated with the U-2, the museum collection includes its ejection seat, camera cart, and maps featuring flight paths. With history in mind, the museum also displays the scroll carried by a Kamikaze pilot, enemy of the American air soldiers.
Watch the following video to learn more about World War II airfields and pilot training in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in the World War II on the Texas Home Front mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel mobile app. Learn more about the tour and the app on the World War II theme page at the following link: http://texastimetravel.com/travel-themes/main-world-war-ii
Laughlin Heritage Foundation Museum
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m.