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The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum was declared the official State of Georgia center for character education and the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College was declared the official frontier and southeastern Indian interpretive center when Governor George E. "Sonny" Perdue signed Senate Bill No. 33 on June 2, 2003.
"The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum preserves for all Americans, the courage, character, and patriotism displayed by the men and women of the Eighth Air Force from World War II to the present. The Museum treasures and teaches these values for the nation's future generations. "Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is NOW known as the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
175 Bourne Ave. Pooler, GA 31322
at Barksdale Air Force Base in Bossier City, LA, the 8th Air Force is one of three active-duty numbered air forces in Air Combat Command. It serves
as a total-force, war-fighting headquarters, employing decisive global air power for U.S Strategic Command.
The Eighth Bomber Command (Later re-designated 8th AF in February 1944) was activated as part of the US Army Air Forces January 28, 1942, at Hunter
Field in Savannah, Georgia. Brig. Gen. Ira C. Eaker took the headquarters to England the next month to prepare for its mission of conducting aerial
bombardment missions against Nazi-occupied Europe. During World War II, under the leadership of such generals as Eaker and Jimmy Doolittle, the 8th
AF became the greatest air armada in history. By mid-1944, the 8th AF had reached a total strength of more than 200,000 people (it is estimated that
more than 350,000 Americans served in 8th AF during the war in Europe). At its peak, the 8th AF could dispatch more than 2,000 four-engine bombers
and 1,000 fighters on a single mission. For these reasons, the 8th AF became known as the "Mighty Eighth".
The Mighty Eighth compiled an impressive record in the war. This achievement, however, carried a high price. The 8th AF suffered half of the U.S Army Air Forces' casualties in World War II (47,000-plus casualties with more than 26,000 deaths). The Eighth's personnel also earned 17 Medals of Honor, 220 Distinguished Service Crosses, 850 Silver Stars, 7,000 Purple Hearts 46,000 Air Medals. Many more uncounted awards were presented to the 8 AF veterans after the war. There were 261 fighter aces and 305 gunner aces in the Eighth in World War II, and 31 fighter aces had more than 15 or more aircraft kills.
After the war in Europe, the 8th AF headquarters moved to Okinawa in July 1945, where it trained new bomber groups for combat against Japan. The Japanese, however, surrendered before the 8th AF saw action in the Pacific Theater. In June, 1946, the headquarters moved to McDill Field, Florida, to become part of the newly established Strategic Air Command. Four years later in November 1950, the 8th AF headquarters transferred to Fort Worth Army Field (later Carswell Air Force Base) in Texas.
During the Korean War, several 8th AF units deployed to Japan to fly combat missions. Afterwards, the Eighth spent its next few years building its strategic capabilities. On June 13, 1955, the 8th AF moved to Westover, Massachusetts, where it guided the transition of its units into the jet age with the B-47 and the KC-97 aircraft. The Air Force phased out those aircraft in the early 1960's for newer B-58 and B-52 bombers, and KC-135 tankers. Additionally, the Eighth acquired Atlas and Titan intercontinental ballistic missiles at that time.
In 1965, the 8th AF started performing combat operations in support of the Southeast Asian Conflict. At first, stateside-based 8th AF wings deployed periodically to operating bases in Guam, Okinawa, and Thailand, but then in April 1970, the headquarters moved to Anderson AFB, Guam, to take over the (direction of all strategic operations. The intensive bombing of the Hanoi and Haiphong during 11 days in December 1972, known as LINEBACKER 2 or the Christmas Day Bombing Campaign, was but one highlight of that period. Those missions influenced the North Vietnamese government to return to the negotiating table. After the hostilities ended in Southeast Asia, the 8th AF moved to Barksdale on January 1, 1975.
Eighth AF units played a key role in Desert Storm by spreading the Gulf War air campaign. Launched from Barksdale, B-52s conducted effective conventional air-launched cruise missile strikes on numerous Iraqi targets to open the war. Numbered air force bomber units in the theater and at nearby locations also attacked Iraq's Republican Guard and other important strategic targets, while air refueling units provided most of the support to Coalition aircraft. Other assets provided tactical reconnaissance.
After Desert Storm, the Mighty Eighth reorganized to become a general-purpose numbered air force with a war fighting mission to support the US Strategic Command. The Eighth currently demonstrates that role in yearly large-scale exercises. In 1996, the Eighth also directed the highly successful Desert Strike mission against Iraq.
Senate Bill 33
By: Senators Thomas of the 2nd, Hill of the 4th and Johnson of the 1st
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
To amend Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, so as to designate The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum as an official State of Georgia center for character education; to designate the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College as Georgia ́s official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is a living memorial created to honor the more than one million personnel who have served in the United States Eighth Air Force since it was organized in Savannah, Georgia, in 1942; and
WHEREAS, the Eighth Air Force was established during the early days of World War II to provide the strategic air force essential to save Europe; and
WHEREAS, the original Eighth Air Force included 65 Heavy Bombardment Groups, 20 Fighter Groups, 3 Air Divisions, 4 major headquarters, and a support command with supply, maintenance, and repair depots throughout the United Kingdom; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force was the largest, most publicized of all of the air forces and was engaged in the most vicious air combat for the longest sustained period of time out of all the other major air components in this country; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth won the air war over Europe and made the successful invasion of Europe possible, and it had no peer in any category of combat activity and suffered the greatest losses of brave young men who were never turned back by enemy action; and
WHEREAS, some 350,000 men and women served in the Eighth Air Force during World War II and contributed to the greatest and most spectacular air campaigns in aviation history; and
WHEREAS, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum emphasizes the teaching of character education through the numerous examples of courage, spirit, and sacrifice shown by the members of the Eighth Air Force; and
WHEREAS, the museum is a resource partner of the Georgia Center for Character Education and character education programming at the museum serves as a pilot program for other museums throughout this state; and
WHEREAS, the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, is a museum and pioneer village interpreting the history and culture of the southeastern Native Americans, the first inhabitants of our colony and state who contributed immeasurably to the cultural, economic, and social development of Georgia; and
WHEREAS, the center interprets and exhibits paintings, sculpture, and other creative works of contemporary southeastern Indian art and includes a permanent collection of antique hand tools used in trades from rope making and shipbuilding to bookbinding; and
WHEREAS, the center offers educational programs, performances, and demonstrations that encourage the study of Native American history and culture and enhance public awareness and understanding of the valuable contributions of our native people; and
WHEREAS, the Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College is truly an outstanding asset to the people of Georgia and the visiting public, and its mission should be properly recognized.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF GEORGIA:
Article 3 of Chapter 3 of Title 50 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to other state symbols, is amended by adding at the end thereof new Code Sections 50-3-79 and 50-3-80 to read as follows:
"50-3-79. The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is designated as an official State of Georgia center for character education.
50-3-80. The Funk Heritage/Bennett Center at Reinhardt College in Waleska, Georgia, is designated as Georgia ́s official Frontier and Southeastern Indian Interpretive Center."
All laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act are repealed.
The law designating the Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum as the official Georgia state center for character education is found in the Georgia Code, Title 50, Chapter 3, Section 50-3-79.
TITLE 50. STATE GOVERNMENT
CHAPTER 3. STATE FLAG, SEAL, AND OTHER SYMBOLS
ARTICLE 3. OTHER STATE SYMBOLS
O.C.G.A. § 50-3-79 (2012)
§ 50-3-79. Official center for character education
The Mighty Eighth Air Force Heritage Museum is designated as an official State of Georgia center for character education.
HISTORY: Code 1981, § 50-3-79, enacted by Ga. L. 2003, p. 501, § 1.
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