Dover AFB’s Air Mobility Command Museum

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According to the Air Mobility Command Museum’s web site, Dover AFB has an interesting and varied history. From an Army base that, in part, hosted experimental rocket research in the 1940s, to a fighter base during the 1950s through the 70’s, to the current Air Mobility Command duties, the base has risen in importance due to its mid-Atlantic location. Today, it is home to the 436th Airlift Wing, and the Air Force Reserve’s 512th Airlift Wing. Base facilities include what is known as the “Super Port”, where cargo from around the world is collected and shipped. The Wings operate the C-5 Galaxy and C-17 Globemaster III, but the base sees all sorts of airlifters operating from its runways.

One of the original aircraft hangars, after a restoration in the 1990s, has become the home of the Air Mobility Command Museum at Dover. Hangar 1301 has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places too. The museum is home to close to 30 aircraft, including fighters (the base also served as a P-47 training base during World War II), bombers, air refueling tankers, and trainers. However, the majority of the aircraft are transports, which has been the focus of the base for over 60 years. In 1952, the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) began building up the base for a global air transport mission that remains today.

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The museum’s collection include many large aircraft, including a C-5A Galaxy, a pair of C-141A and -B Starlifters (the first and last airframes built!), a KC-135E, plus a C-9A Nightingale Medivac and a VC-9C VIP transport… all jet powered. The larger piston and turboprop transport collection is definitely a highlight… C-54 Skymaster, C-7 Caribou, C-119 Flying Boxcar, C-121 Constellation, C-123 Provider, C-124 Globemaster II, C-130 Hercules, C-131 Samaritan, C-47 Skytrain, C-133 Cargomaster, and a KC-97 Stratotanker. World War II aircraft of note include a C-60 Lodestar, B-17 Flying Fortress and A-26 Invader, plus PT-17 Kaydet and BT-13 Valiant trainers and TG-4A and CG-4A gliders. Cold War “relics” include an HH-43 Husky helicopter, F-101 Voodoo and F-106 Delta Dart interceptors, and even a Soviet Bloc-built AN-2 biplane.

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The aircraft, as you can see in our photos, are well preserved and presented both outside, and indoors in Hangar 1301. There’s even a control tower, used at Dover AFB until six years ago, for viewing and listening to airport traffic control.

Written by Ken Kula. Recent photos by Bob Finch as noted, and a pair by Walt Bauer taken many years ago.

 

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