Lackland Air Force Base, Texas –
Judging from the exterior of the facility, it's hard to believe that a building so small could contain so much information about the Air Force, past and present.
The History and Traditions Museum on Lackland AFB offers a panoramic history of Air Force Basic Military Training, starting with pre-World War I through Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"We need people to know that there is a hidden treasure on Lackland," said Fernando Cortez, museum curator. "Our mission is to educate Airmen and Lackland visitors on Air Force history and traditions "
Celebrating 50 years of existence, the museum is considered to be the largest enlisted museum of its kind.
"We've been here for such a long time," said Mr. Cortez. "Many people are not aware of the rarity of some of the exhibits we have on display."
The museum contains a variety of displays covering the evolution of aviation, including a unique structural fuselage of the ancient JN-4 "Jenny" aircraft. Different uniforms worn throughout Air Force history are also on display.
According to Mr. Cortez, "The museum affords the opportunity for the more than 4.7 million Air Force BMT graduates since 1947 to retrace a piece of their past."
The museum also hosts guided tours to local schools and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs throughout the year.
"It's great to see that I'm a part of something greater than myself," said Cadet 4th Class Alex Gwin, Texas Central University ROTC. "The displays and artifacts were very interesting and informative. I think every Airman should experience all the museum has to offer."
The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at the intersection of George Avenue and Nellis Street. Volunteers are always needed to support and maintain the museum. For more information, call Fernando Cortez at 671-0655.