Opening this December, the Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries will tell the story of the brave men and women fighting within the Asia-Pacific side of World War II and the logistical challenges, environmental difficulties, crude facilities, and tropical diseases they faced to secure victory.
As we begin our countdown through Road to Tokyo, we come first to the Briefing Room: Japanese Onslaught. This gallery space will set the scene of how America first became involved with fighting in the Pacific.
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese had attacked Pearl Harbor. Four days after the gruesome attack on US soil, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States. Americans – determined to avenge the attack on their territory – were ready to launch a war with Japan.
The Road to Tokyo Briefing Room: Japanese Onslaught will guide visitors through the precarious situation facing America, and the logistical challenges of fighting a two-front war, particularly across the vast Pacific Ocean and Asian territories now dominated by the Japanese. Finally, visitors will meet the Allied and Axis key leaders in the Pacific: Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Emperor Hirohito.
Road to Tokyo Introduction and Orientation Area
Donor Spotlight: The Starr Foundation
The Road to Tokyo Briefing Room: Japanese Onslaught has been made possible through a generous donation by The Starr Foundation.
Cornelius Vander Starr, Founder of The Starr Foundation
The Starr Foundation was established in 1955 by Cornelius Vander Starr, who served in the US Army during WWI. He died in 1968 at the age of 76, leaving his estate to the Foundation, and he named his business partners – Ernest E. Stempel, John J. Roberts, Houghton Freeman, and Maurice R. “Hank” Greenberg – to run the foundation under Greenberg’s leadership. The partners were all WWII veterans: Stempel, Roberts, and Freeman all served in the Navy in the Pacific and Greenberg served in the Army in Europe.
Maurice R. Greenberg is the current Chairman of The Starr Foundation
Greenberg served throughout the European Theater – from landing on the beaches of Normandy to fighting in the Battle of the Bulge to the liberating concentration camps in Germany. Greenberg received the Legion of Honor from the French government on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day in 2014. When being praised for his brave military service, Greenberg responds that he was “only one of millions of WWII veterans who fought for our country.”
The Starr Foundation awarded the Museum a $1 million grant, after Museum founder Stephen Ambrose met with Greenberg in 2001. Eager to dedicate a space that would preserve the story of the European Theater in Greenberg’s honor, The Starr Foundation generously provided an additional gift in 2006 in support of the Museum’s Road to Victory Capital Campaign to name the Road to Tokyo Introduction Area gallery.
Florence Davis, President of The Starr Foundation
President of the Starr Foundation, Florence Davis believes the Museum is “a good reminder of the ideals that Americans fought for in the past and what we continue to fight for today.”
One of The Starr Foundation’s focuses is to “invest in education and international affairs,” Davis states that “the Museum educates visitors about the positive lessons of how the country pulled together on rationing, war bonds, and enlistment in huge numbers, as well as the negative lessons of the (racial) segregation of troops and internment of Japanese Americans. Understanding the entire history of WWII, warts and all, is very important.”
The Museum is grateful for the Foundation’s support and for the leadership of Greenberg and Davis, who have played key roles in developing the Museum into a world-class institution.
On May 7, 1945, the surrender of Germany was announced, officially ending the European phase of World War II. Allied leaders decided that May 8 would be celebrated as Victory in Europe Day (V-E Day). Join us the first week of May as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of V-E Day with a variety of events.
Upcoming V-E Day Commemorative Events
Wednesday May, 6, 2015
Lunchbox Lecture Guenter Bischof presents “1945: End of the War in Austria”
H. Mortimer Favrot Orientation Center
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
The Republic of Austria was incorporated into the Third Reich on March 13, 1938, after the invasion by the German Wehrmacht. During World War II Austrians fought in the Wehrmacht, participated in the Holocaust, and suffered from Nazi oppression and Allied bombing. By and large, public opinion in the “Ostmark” supported the Nazi regime to the end of the war. The territory of what would be called Austria again was liberated by the Red Army from the east, American forces from the north, and French forces from the west. On the basis of the Allied Moscow Declaration, the Provisional Renner Government proclaimed the re-establishment of Austria on April 27. Four-power Allied occupation government was finally established in September 1945 and continued until 1955. The road from war to independence seemed interminable for the Austrians. Guenter Bischof presents.
For more information visit us here or call 504-528-1944 x 229.
Thursday, May 7, 2015
General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series on World War II “Eisenhower The Liberator: A Panel Discussion” Featuring the Grandchildren of Dwight D. Eisenhower
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
5:00 pm Reception | 6:00 pm Presentation and Q&A
Join us for an enlightening evening as the grandchildren of General Dwight D. Eisenhower come to discuss their grandfather’s legacy and his experiences during the war.
Moderated by Dr. Keith Huxen, the Museum’s Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Director of Research and History, the panel will discuss Eisenhower in his role as Supreme Commander and chief amongst the liberators—including his personal encounter with the Holocaust as he inspected the camps at Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. One of Eisenhower’s lasting legacies as leader of the Allied Forces was to force soldiers, civilians, and media to tour the sites themselves in order to have eyewitnesses, written records, and photographic evidence of Holocaust crimes.
Commemorating the 70th Anniversary of V-E Day
Friday, May 8, 2015
On May 8, 1945, World War II ended in Europe. While the mood was exuberant in neighborhoods, work places, and with families throughout the country, it was a bittersweet day—war still raged on in the Pacific and many veterans recall that they were being re-assigned to prepare for the invasion of the Japanese mainland.
The Museum will commemorate this important anniversary of World War II with speakers who will recollect receiving the news, footage from newsreels from 1945, and historians reflecting on the meanings and legacies of Victory in Europe.
New Orleans Military & Maritime Academy Performance US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
10:30 am – 11:00 am
V-E Day Ceremony US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Ceremony commemorating the end of the war in Europe, featuring reflections of those who remember the events of the day. Led by Bill Detweiler, The National WWII Museum’s Consultant for Military and Veterans Affairs.
Living History Corps and artifacts from the war in Europe Battle Barksdale Parade Ground
For more information visit us here or call 504-528-1944 x 229.
Guadalcanal Gallery in Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries
Pacific Theater Galleries
We are proud to present to you the Road to Tokyo, the second floor Pacific Theater Galleries scheduled for completion in December 2015. In combination with the first floor, the Road to Berlin, which opened in December 2014, the Campaigns of Courage Pavilion portrays the bravery, sacrifice, and sense of duty demonstrated by soldiers in each branch of the US military services in all campaigns of World War II.
For America, World War II began in the Pacific. Although the nation’s attention had long been drawn to events in Europe, it was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that officially brought America into World War II. The Asia–Pacific Campaign builds on that galvanizing event, following the path that leads from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Harbor by way of New Guinea and Southeast Asia, the Himalayas, Burma, and the islands of the Pacific. Road to Tokyo will explore the evolving strategy for fighting in Asia and the Pacific, and the cultural differences and tremendous range of extreme conditions that confronted our soldiers. Galleries will include: The New Naval Warfare, Guadalcanal, Pacific Campaign Challenges, Island Hopping, China-Burma-India, Philippines, Death at Japan’s Doorstep, and Downfall.
All design for these galleries is now complete and exhibit construction has begun. In anticipation of these incredible exhibit spaces, and the completion of a major step in the Museum’s Capital Expansion, we would like to give you a sneak peek of the galleries and spotlight the generous donors who have made the construction of Road to Tokyo possible.
Briefing Room in Road to Tokyo
USS Enterprise in Road to Tokyo
Donor Spotlight: Richard C. Adkerson
Museum Board Chairman, Richard C. Adkerson
The Museum is immensely proud to highlight Board Chairman Richard C. Adkerson, who, together with his company, Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc., pledged $5 million. Mr. Adkerson’s gift honors the service of his father, a Seabee in the Pacific during WWII. Freeport’s gift recognizes its large-scale mining operations in Papua, Indonesia on the island of New Guinea. Mr. Adkerson is the President, CEO & Vice Chairman of Freeport-McMoRan.
Adkerson’s parents came from small-farm families in Lauderdale County in west Tennessee. His father, J.W. Adkerson, enlisted immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He became a Marine and a Seabee, a support unit in the Navy best known for construction projects, and he served two tours in the South Pacific including on Guadalcanal, the Marshall Islands, the Caroline Islands and Guam. His mother’s twin brother, William Lawton “Buddy” Thornley, served in the Army in New Guinea under General MacArthur. Regrettably, both died during the early 1970s. J.W. never talked much about the war, and never wanted to vacation at beaches. Years later, in his mother’s memorabilia collection, the younger Adkerson found a piece of a map of the South Pacific where his father had traced the places he had been during his two WWII tours. Richard Adkerson often landed en route to Indonesia on air strips constructed during WWII in Majuro in the Marshall Islands and Paulu in the Caroline Islands where his father once was – and these experiences would later influence his involvement with the Museum.
After graduating from Mississippi State University with highest honors, Mr. Adkerson began his career in New Orleans and, after living in Washington D.C., Houston and Chicago, Adkerson returned to New Orleans in 1989 to join Freeport-McMoRan. A few years later, Stephen Ambrose began speaking with executives at Freeport about early plans for the Museum. Adkerson expressed strong interest from the beginning. His favorite memory of the Museum is the opening on June 6, 2000, and the feeling he had watching the veterans in the parade through the streets of New Orleans and the warm, patriotic reception they so richly deserved.
Museum President and CEO Gordon “Nick” Mueller and Trustee Donald “Boysie” Bollinger approached Adkerson about joining the board in 2002, and Adkerson enthusiastically agreed. That year the Museum’s annual Victory Ball gala fundraiser, of which Freeport was a sponsor, honored former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a Freeport emeritus board member and close friend of Adkerson’s. Adkerson left the board in 2007 when Freeport moved its headquarters from New Orleans to Phoenix, but four years later Museum Trustee Governor Pete Wilson visited Adkerson and suggested that he re-join the Museum board. Adkerson accepted the invitation, and then in June of 2013 he became the Museum’s Board Chairman.
Adkerson felt that as he assumed the Chairman’s role, “it would be a good time for Freeport and myself personally to make gifts that would help the Museum move forward in achieving our goals and encourage others to participate as well.” Adkerson and Freeport decided to donate $5 million to name the Road to Tokyo. They felt this would fit naturally with his father’s involvement in the Pacific and Freeport’s current mining work in New Guinea. In addition, Freeport’s predecessor company played a significant role on the Home Front by supplying copper materials during WWII.
With the help of this leadership gift, we will be able to tell the complete story of the war in the Pacific. We extend our sincere thanks to Richard C. Adkerson and Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. for their commitment to the Museum’s essential mission.
Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller accepts Whitney Bank’s donation, along with “A-Team” Members Bert Stolier & Ronnie Abboud and their families.
The National WWII Museum today received a $75,000 contribution from Whitney Bank. The gift will be used to support the Museum’s researchers and historians in their ongoing educational and preservation efforts, as well as honor the longtime Museum volunteer group affectionately known as the “A-Team.”
John M. Hairston, President and CEO of Hancock Holding Company, parent company of Whitney Bank, presented Whitney’s donation to Museum President and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, along with certificates that represent commemorative bricks sponsored at the Museum campus for each “A-Team” member. A band of seven WWII veteran volunteers, the “A-Team” assisted heavily with the Museum’s Speakers Bureau – an organization that gives free personalized presentations throughout the community.
“The National WWII Museum brings to life the story of the Greatest Generation and the incredible patriotism that rallied our entire nation around a fight for freedom in a war unlike any other to that point,” said Hairston. “We are pleased to help the Museum and humbled to honor the ‘A-Team.’ Their extraordinary courage and the resilient spirit of their generation changed the course of history for America and the rest of the world; and their experiences remind us that our freedoms remain intact because of the dedication and sacrifices of our men and women in uniform and their families.”
Created by passionate Museum volunteer Ronnie Abboud, the “A-Team” has included WWII veterans Tom Blakey, Jack Sullivan, Frank Tuttle, George Wichterich, Vernon Main Jr. and Bert Stolier. Today, Stolier is the only living member who served in World War II.
The brick dedication comes at an ideal time – during National Volunteer Week. In addition to staff members, nearly 350 volunteers actively serve the Museum at the ticket counter, information desk, Solomon Victory Theater, and Kushner Restoration Pavilion. Volunteers at the Restoration Pavilion are in their seventh year of work, contributing more than 76,000 hours restoring a 78-foot Higgins Patrol-Torpedo boat. Of the total number of volunteers, 18 have served the Museum since it opened 14 years ago, and the average volunteer tenure is 4.1 years.
“I’m proud to represent the Museum as a volunteer, and I’m even more proud to have worked alongside such courageous men,” Abboud continued. “Every member of the ‘A-Team’ is a personal hero of mine. Their sacrifice is unmatched, and I’m incredibly grateful to Whitney Bank for giving us the opportunity to create a lasting tribute to this phenomenal group of gentleman – a memorial that will be around for generations to come.”
Today, the men and women who fought and won World War II are now mostly in their 90s – dying at the rate of approximately 492 a day, according to US Veterans Administration figures. When the newly constructed Campaigns of Courage pavilion is completed this winter, the “A-Team’s” commemorative bricks will be part of its atrium, accompanying dozens of other veterans’ names so that their collective sacrifice will always be remembered.
As a continuation of our Year of Remembrance programs, The National WWII Museum will present a screening of the feature-length documentary Above and Beyond, produced by Nancy Spielberg and directed by Roberta Grossman. Above and Beyond follows a group of Jewish-American pilots who secretly flew for Israel in its 1948 “War of Independence.” The documentary features never-before-seen interviews and thrilling aerial footage to share the little-known tale of men who risked their lives to help others in need – a heart-warming and heroic story.
“I identified with these flyboys, having grown up in Phoenix, Arizona, where we were the only Jewish family on the block,” said Spielberg. “And, I saw my father in them. My dad used to fly B‐25s with the Burma Bridge Busters Squadron doing radio communications. I marveled at the camaraderie he had maintained with his ‘band of brothers’ and saw similar bonds among our pilots.”
Preceded by a 5:00 pm reception, the Above and Beyond screening will take place at 6:00 pm on April 23 in the Museum’s Solomon Victory Theater. Nancy Spielberg and her father, WWII veteran Arnold Spielberg, will be in attendance as well as Roberta Grossman. A special discussion and Q&A with Spielberg will follow at 7:30 pm. To RSVP, visit us here.
Detail of Destination Home and Peace Mural (banner) painted in Germany by Cpl. Norman E. Linn of the 79th Division. Gift of the 314th Infantry Association WWII. 1999.115.001.
I am often asked about the variety of items we receive in the Collections & Exhibits Department from donors to the Museum. Donations run the gamut; from weapons, uniforms, and flags to letters, scrapbooks, and photographs. Sometimes collections come to us with little or no information, this can make for some fun and yet exhausting research by our curators, archivists, and collections staff. Other collections come to the Museum heavily researched and with a thorough provenance. Then there are those rare and serendipitous occasions in which one collection seems to provide insight to another.
Marlene Dietrich and Marvin Ryman in Europe in March 1944. Photograph courtesy of Bill Ryman.
A few months ago, we performed a condition check on an item in our holdings. The item was a banner that had been painted in France by Cpl. Norman E. Lin and was donated to the Museum by J.J. Witmeyer and the 314th Infantry Association WWII. The immense banner was well preserved and the colors seemed as bright as the day they were painted by Cpl. Lin back in 1945. The banner celebrated the stateside return of the US Army’s 79th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Cross of Lorraine Division for their exceptional effort in France during WWI. During WWII the 79th came ashore in Normandy a few weeks after D-Day and fought their way through France, Belgium and then into Germany. After inspecting the banner and conducting a condition report, we snapped a few photos and returned it to our vault. We assumed that the banner was used onboard a ship but we were unsure on the details and we all wanted to know more about this object.
Enter the Marvin Ryman Collection. About a month ago, Bill Ryman, a visitor from Kansas City, Missouri, dropped by the Museum to ask if we were interested in his father’s wartime scrapbook. Bill’s father, Marvin Ryman, had served with the 84th Infantry Division in Europe and had shot several photographs during his time in service. The 84th hit Omaha Beach in November of 1944 and fought their way through the Netherlands and into Germany, then to Belgium, and then returned to Germany until the end of the war. The photos highlighted Ryman’s military journey from start to finish. The images included photos from his initial training and even one of Ryman with Marlene Dietrich.
One tiny picture in particular stopped us all in our tracks. It was an image that Ryman had made on 28 November 1945 in Marseilles, France prior to boarding the SS CCNY Victory for his trip back to the United States. How is this for a photo? Anything look familiar on the side of the ship?
As I mentioned, sometimes collections can offer clues that help us with other collections.
“Boarding ship U.S.S City College New York to leave Marseilles, France for home.” Photograph courtesy of Bill Ryman.
Posted by Lowell Bassett, Collections Manager at The National WWII Museum.
Photographs courtesy of Bill Ryman and The National WWII Museum.
Dachau barracks as seen from above. “Dachau camp.” Germany. 1945. Gift of Vincent Yannetti, from the collection of The National WWII Museum.
In 1945, a great evil was confronted and defeated on the battlefields of World War II, but soldiers encountered even darker elements behind the battle lines with the discovery and liberation of concentration camps throughout Europe. Seventy years later, The National WWII Museum is honoring those liberations by presenting a year’s worth of compelling programs that explore the last year of the war in connection with the Holocaust.
The various programs are collectively known as Year of Remembrance and each one plays a vital role in the Museum’s mission to not only recount the details of the war, but also make a connection between what these events mean today and how they are still relevant to younger generations. Museum volunteer and WWII veteran John Rogers often shares the emotional story of first seeing a concentration camp and the men there who stood with what little was left of their strength to welcome their liberators. At that moment, he felt overwhelmingly that all he and his men had been through was worth it saying “I knew we were right.”
Join us throughout the year in memorializing those who suffered through the Holocaust and honoring the bravery of those who liberated the camps of Europe.
1945/2015: YEAR OF REMEMBRANCE EVENTS
Thursday, May 7 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center 70th Anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – The General Raymond E. Mason Jr. Distinguished Lecture on WWII: Eisenhower The Liberator: A Panel Discussion featuring the grandchildren of President Dwight D. Eisenhower 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Presentation and Q&A
Join us for an enlightening evening as the grandchildren of General Dwight D. Eisenhower come to discuss their grandfather’s legacy and his experiences during the war. Moderated by Dr. Keith Huxen, the Museum’s Samuel Zemurray Stone Senior Director of Research and History, the panel will discuss Eisenhower in his role as Supreme Commander and chief amongst the liberators—including his personal encounter with the Holocaust as he inspected the camps at Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. One of Eisenhower’s lasting legacies as leader of the Allied Forces was to force soldiers, civilians, and media to tour the sites themselves in order to have eyewitnesses, written records, and photographic evidence of Holocaust crimes.
Wednesday, September 30 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center Special Presentation – Harry Nowalsky and the Rebirth of Berlin’s Jewish Community, with Jessica Greenberg and special guest Ruth Jaffe, a Holocaust survivor 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Presentation and Q&A
Information on this event coming soon.
Thursday, October 8 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center Special Presentation – The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World by Kati Marton 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Presentation and Q&A
Information on this event coming soon.
Thursday, November 19 – Stage Door Canteen Pre-International Conference on WWII Symposium covering important aspects of the Holocaust 9:00am | All-Day Event
The 2015 International Conference on WWII will be complemented by a one-day Symposium covering important aspects of the Holocaust. Registration for the Holocaust Symposium is ONLY open to registrants of the 2015 Conference. Please visit www.ww2conference.com to register.
Saturday, November 21 – Hyatt Regency Hotel 2015 International Conference on WWII: Why We Fight featuring Alex Kershaw and John Orloff
Saturday, November 21 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center 2015 International Conference on WWII Closing Banquet: Operation Last Chance: One Man’s Quest to Bring Nazi Criminals to Justice featuring Efraim Zuroff
Tuesday, January 27 – Louisiana Memorial Pavilion International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust Holocaust Survivors Panel featuring Mark Rubin and Luna Kaufman 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Panel | 7:30pm Book Signing
On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated Auschwitz. Every year, this date is marked as International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. Join us for an emotional and insightful evening as we hear from two Holocaust survivors who will share their stories of fear, suffering, and liberation. This event will launch The National WWII Museum’s “Year of Remembrance,” focusing on the 70th Anniversary of the liberations that took place around the world as a result of the Allied victory. The Museum will host various programs that explore the last year of the war in regards to the Holocaust by examining the survivors, liberators, and perpetrators. This program will honor and memorialize those who suffered through the Holocaust as well as those who helped to end it by liberating the camps of Europe.
Thursday, March 12 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center Special Lecture – Varian Fry and the American Rescue Committee by Neill Lochery 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Presentation and Q&A | 7:00pm Book Signing
Dr. Neill Lochery examines Jewish rescue workers groups, specifically the American Rescue Committee led by Varian Fry. Dr. Lochery will discuss the group’s efforts to rescue European Jews from the Nazi onslaught and attempts at finding them refuge throughout the world, especially the US. With extensive background and research on Lisbon in WWII, Dr. Lochery will share his insight and discuss the array of colorful characters and Lisbon’s celebrity/royal refugees as they awaited deliverance out of Europe.
Thursday, April 23 – Solomon Victory Theater Documentary Screening – Above and Beyond with post-screening discussion with film producer Nancy Spielberg 5:00pm Reception | 6:00pm Screening | 7:30pm Filmmaker Discussion and Q&A
In 1948, just three years after the liberation of Nazi death camps, a group of Jewish American pilots answered a call for help. At great personal risk, they smuggled planes out of the US, trained behind the Iron Curtain in Czechoslovakia, and flew for Israel in its War of Independence. This ragtag band of brothers not only turned the tide of the war, but also embarked on personal journeys of discovery, sacrifice, and renewed Jewish pride. Above and Beyond is their story.
An accomplished businesswoman, fundraiser, and philanthropist, producer Nancy Spielberg has in recent years turned her energy and talents to producing documentary films. She served as consultant on the Oscar-winning documentary Chernobyl Heart and was executive producer of Elusive Justice: The Search for Nazi War Criminals on PBS. Ms. Spielberg also produced Celebrities Salute Israel’s 60th, a project for the Israeli government, which was featured in Times Square on the NASDAQ screens for one month.
Filmmaker Nancy Spielberg introduced the film and took questions after the screening.
P-51 pilots shot down more than 4,950 enemy aircraft during World War II. With its combination of range, firepower, speed and maneuverability, the P-51 proved its worth as it escorted bombers, strafed targets on the ground and provided the Allies with all-purpose air support. The British Royal Air Force as well as the US Army Air Forces used the Mustang and many top aces flew the plane.
The pairing of the legendary Merlin engine and the P-51 Mustang eventually resulted in the P-51D, which provided the Army Air Forces with a high-altitude, long-range fighter that could escort heavy bombers to Berlin and back. More than 8,000 of this model were produced. Between 1941 and 1946, roughly 1,000 African American pilots were trained at a segregated air base in Tuskegee, Alabama. The most famous of the Tuskegee Airmen served in the 332nd Fighter Group, also known as the “Red Tails” for the distinctive markings of their planes. The Museum’s P-51 replica is painted in the markings of one of the aircraft flown by the Tuskegee squadron. An authentic P-51D is under restoration.
The acquisition of the Museum’s P-51 has been generously supported by the Ricketts Family. Todd Ricketts is a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees, Chicago businessman and owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
It is with deep sadness that leaders of The National WWII Museum must report the death of our Board of Trustees member and legendary advocate, Bob Ready, who passed on March 18th. Bob Ready was the founder of Cincinnati-based LSI Industries, a leading manufacturer of LED lighting, outdoor lighting, indoor lighting, and commercial lighting solutions. LSI has been recognized in Business Week’s list of “Best Small Companies” and four times in the Forbes magazine “Top 200 Best Small Companies in America.”
Ready entered the Air Force upon graduating college, serving in Europe for two years and the reserve for four. As a result of his military service, Ready was inspired to build a memorial dedicated to the US Army Air Forces’ role in World War II. In 1999, he organized an expedition to Greenland in search of a B-17 Warbird that went down in 1942. Though he was unable to track down the aircraft, he had the opportunity to purchase another B-17, “My Gal Sal,” that was successfully recovered in 1995. Ready and a crew of 23 volunteers logged more than 800,000 hours restoring the bomber that was intended to fly to Europe before making an emergency landing in Greenland in 1942. When the restoration was complete, Ready generously donated the iconic plane to the Museum in 2012.
Ready remained a loyal supporter of the Museum since he agreed to become a Trustee in December of 2012, a month before the opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. According to Museum President Nick Mueller, “Bob was a man of great spirit and heart, and we will miss him dearly.” His generosity and strength lives on as Museum visitors continue to admire “My Gal Sal” in the US Freedom Pavilion. The National WWII Museum is deeply grateful for Bob Ready’s support and devotion to history education.
“My Gal Sal” in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center at The National WWII Museum
The Voices of Courage oral history exhibit within US Freedom Pavilion: the Boeing Center allows visitors to hear the stories of life in World War II told by veterans themselves. The focus of these tales of courage are on the universal themes of Why We Fight, Experience of War and Military Life. These personal accounts from the Museum’s expansive collection are inspirational, emotional and sometimes even humorous. The words of these humble eyewitnesses to history make it clear to visitors that the war was fought by real men with faces and personalities — a lesson made even more poignant by the fact that so many did not get the chance to grow old and so many more have left us without sharing their experiences.
Donor Spotlight: Superior Energy Services
The Voices of Courage oral history exhibit in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center has been made possible by a generous gift from Superior Energy Services, Inc.
Superior Energy Services, Inc. has been a loyal supporter of the National WWII Museum since 2003, only three short years after the Museum’s opening. The company, with President & CEO David Dunlap now currently at the helm, was created in the mid 1980s by Terence Hall, a Tulane graduate and active Trustee of the Museum since 2010. The company provides specialized oil field services to companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico, US mainland, and further afield. It sells and rents oil and gas well drilling equipment and offers tools and services worldwide, including in Canada, the Middle East, Trinidad and Tobago, the UK, Venezuela, and West Africa. The company furnishes well access services to acquire data and perform remedial activities. It also makes, rents, and sells specialized drilling and spill containment gear.
Superior Energy Services first got involved with the Museum due to a common denominator: the two entities shared Board members. Founder and current Chairman of the Board of Superior, Terence Hall, and Board member Harold Bouillion both serve on the Board of Trustees for The National WWII Museum. Bouillion has supported Museum travel programs, the Museum’s annual Victory Ball, as well as the Road to Victory Capital Campaign. Hall has graciously named the American Counterattack exhibit within Road to Berlin, the first floor of Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters that opened in December. In addition to the generosity of these two leaders at Superior, former President, Kenneth Blanchard, has also sponsored the Siege of Bastogne exhibit within Road to Berlin in honor of his father, Don Blanchard.
Speaking on the strong involvement and relationship that Superior Energy Services has built over the years with the Museum, David Dunlap states that Superior likes to “support the things that our employees or directors are personally involved with,” which is evident based on the leadership’s philanthropy.
Dunlap and the company were particularly drawn to supporting the Museum’s Capital Expansion program. He noted that, with a company of over 14,000 employees, many of them “have some former military background,” making the Museum “a very good fit.” Dunlap went on to say that Superior Energy Services prides itself on being an “exceptionally patriotic company,” and that witnessing the expansion of a Museum of such high quality in a location where the company first grew its roots, made it a very attractive connection.
Mr. Dunlap, whose father-in-law fought in the Army Air Corps and was shot down over Switzerland during the war, first visited the Museum with his family in 2008. He stated that, after an amazing three or four hour visit through the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion and main galleries, they were heading out the front door when one of the docents grabbed his son by shoulders and asked “Hey, Buddy — got a light?” This sparked a twenty minute conversation between the WWII vet and Dunlap’s family, as the volunteer walked them through his personal account of D-Day and the difficulty he had readjusting to normal life when he returned home.
After Dunlap and his family left the museum, he said that they walked about half a block, then he turned to his son and said, “You may live to be a really old man and never meet someone as interesting as that guy.” Dunlap states that preserving oral history accounts, such as this one, was a key factor in Superior Energy Service’s choice of sponsoring the Voices of Courage exhibit in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.
Dunlap went on to say that, if he could speak to other donors considering giving to the Museum, he would tell them that they would be “investing in an institution of exceptionally high quality.” He believes strongly that when considering a donation and factoring in how your gift will be put to use, that it is important to consider whether the organization will be a good steward. He is gratified that Superior Energy Service’s involvement with the Museum has been, and continues to be, an incredible experience. The Museum is gratified to have the commitment and generous support of this fine company and the outstanding individuals who comprise its leadership.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today - so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.