Rotary Club of Marana Visits the 390th Air Museum
On March 26th, 10 members of our Rotary Club visited the 390th Museum at the Pima Air and Space Museum off of Valencia Road in Tucson. The 390th Air Museum is the Home of the B-17 “Super Fortress” bomber and tells the story of this World War II bomber group as they fought in the war in Europe.
Harold Burtzloff and Beckie Penman had coordinated with Glenn Rosati of the museum to have meeting facilities available for members to gather and share coffee and doughnuts. There we met our tour guide, Col. Don Cassidy. Col. Don gave us an introductory briefing and then proceeded to show us the through all of the various exhibits within the building.  The centerpiece was the last B-17 flown by any service. Members were allowed to look inside the aircraft and asked many questions.
Of particular interest to most was the gallery of photos of every B-17 and their crews in the 390th. Along the walls were various examples of airplanes with their mission count and what happened to them.  Many were lost over Germany. Nose Art (crew produced aircraft names and symbols (usually females) painted on the noses of each B-17, various flight jackets and uniforms, parachutes and other items used by the crews were displayed and explained.
Of particular interest was the section on the Norden Bombsight, a top-secret device used by bombardiers, that allowed them to essentially take over the controls of the aircraft to guide it to a very precise drop point, insuring a target hit. According to Col. Don, a lady with some very long hair had donated her locks for the production of these sights – literally being used as “cross hairs” of the scope that were overlaid on the target.
Our club was so impressed with the museum and their personnel that we voted to make a special donation of $200.00 to the museum.