I found this trip to be very interested and it brought back great memories of my time at
Air Force Base, many years ago. I toured this museum a long time ago
- it has grown tremendously
since I saw it last.
The Air Force Armament Museum, adjacent to Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, is the only facility in the U.S. dedicated to the display of Air Force armament. Founded in 1975, it was originally located in a converted gymnasium on the northeastern edge of the Eglin main base, adjacent to Valparaiso, Florida.
Driving onto the grounds of the Air Force Armament Museum, you will notice the array of aircraft on display. The fastest plane ever built, the SR-71 Blackbird is the centerpiece flanked by numerous planes from World War II, Korean, Vietnam and Gulf War eras. Actually, there are over 29 different aircraft that have found a home at the Museum including an AC-130, B-17, B-25, B-52, P-51, A-10, F-15, F-16, F-100, F-101.
A wide variety of bombs, missiles, and rockets are exhibited, including the newest air-to-air missile, the AMRAAM, and the GBU-28 bunker-buster developed for use during Operation Desert Storm. Other missiles include the Paveway series, Falcons, the Tomahawk, Mace, Hound Dog, radar-controlled, laser-controlled and several guided by a TV camera in the nose. Also on display is the GBU-43 MOAB, Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb, or by its nickname, "Mother of All Bombs", the world's largest conventional explosive weapon. A predecessor, the T12 38,600 lb. demolition bomb, is displayed outside, while a Fat Man casing is indoors.
A gun vault displays a variety of weapons ranging from a 1903 Springfield rifle to the GAU-8, which is capable of shooting 6,000 rounds per minute. Displays also include the Sikes Antique Pistol Collection, with over 180 handguns, including flintlocks, dueling pistols, Western six-shooters, Civil War pistols, and a wide variety of early military weaponry.
Discussion of the founding of a facility dedicated to the history of the development of armaments began at Eglin Air Force Base in 1972 with manpower considerations being circulated in early fall, with a plan approved in 1974. A former World War II-era gymnasium turned Enlisted Club near the old main gate to Valparaiso was adapted in 1975-1976 for the initial collection. Exhibits included the CGM-13 Mace missile, the F-84F, the F-101B, the B-17 Flying Fortress, and the B-25 Mitchell that had been displayed in Valparaiso-Niceville since 1960. Also popular was a Ryan Model 47 Firebee painted as a shark. A SPAD S.XIII, one of six survivors of the type, marked as '1' and flown by Captain Eddie Rickenbacker of the 94th Aero Squadron, on loan from Dolph Overton's Wings and Wheels Museum, Santee, South Carolina, was displayed from 1976 until the original building was closed. The museum occupied these wooden quarters until the structure was condemned in 1981, and the museum was closed in October.
The AFAM Foundation, incorporated in 1976 as an IRS 501(c)(3) philanthropic non-profit organization, began searching for a new site while raising funds for a new building. By mid-1985, $1.2 million in private and corporate donations had been raised, and construction of a new 28,000-square-foot museum was underway. In November of the same year, the new museum was deeded to the United States Air Force and opened to the public.
Mon - Sat 9:30am to 4:30pm
Closed Sun and Federal Holidays
Air Force Armament Museum
100 Museum Drive
Eglin Air Force Base, Florida