Several weeks ago, Roan and I made a pit stop at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside on our way to Big Bear. We got on the road a bit late (almost noon), so we essentially caught some mid-day traffic along the way. Somewhere along I-215, I spotted three hovering aircrafts, which looked like they were practice-flying, but Roan knew better. He said those were C-130 aircrafts, the same plane they took and spent one New Year’s Eve on when he was still in the military. As it turns out, they were waiting for a chance to land at the nearby airport/airbase. To my surprise, Roan made a swift exit towards the museum.
War Dog Memorial
It was high noon by the time we pulled into the parking lot, but in spite of the unforgiving sun, we beelined to the little War Dog Memorial right before the museum entryway. It was built in memory of the war dogs who served in the Vietnam War. According to one veteran, the war dogs that served in Vietnam were unlike the war dogs in World War II because they were left there to the horror of their handlers.
March Field Main Hangar
One of the highlights at the March Field Main Hangar is the Lockheed SR-71A Blackbird. The Blackbird is a spy plane, hence it is capable of going in stealth mode. It remains the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft in the world. It could operate beyond the range of interception in both speed and altitude.
Vincent J. Rogers, Jr. Exhibit
I may not know a lot about fighter aircrafts, but Roan—being a war veteran himself—enjoys going to museums such as this, too. My favorite part of the museum was the exhibit dedicated to Vincent J. Rogers, Jr. I lingered there longer out of all the exhibits because I got drawn into listening to (and reading) his wartime experiences through his letters, which described each stop of his captivating personal journey from recruit to hardened veteran as he teaches us the true cost of war. He had a pretty penmanship, too!
Pearl Harbor Exhibit
My second favorite was the diorama featured at the Pearl Harbor Exhibit in the March Field Main Hangar. The movie, which starred Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett, and Kate Beckinsale, is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve seen it several times, yet it doesn’t fail to tug at your heartstrings. Coincidentally, Roan and I share our wedding anniversary with the attack on the island.
Located between the museum’s two main hangars, 29 climate-controlled exhibit cases tell the story of aviation, the conflicts and personalities, technologies and tactics that have shaped our modern world. One of which was dedicated to Operation Iraqi Freedom, Roan’s first mission on tour. Although he’s told me about his deployment numerous times, I still revel in his not-so-distant memory of the two times he served in Iraq.
In an outdoor exhibit displayed over 70 decommissioned fighter aircrafts, spanning nearly 100 years of aviation. The museum offers 30 to 45-minute guided tours (refer to their schedule) if you want to know more about each and every aircraft in the lot, but you may explore and take photos on your own if you choose not to join the group.
We stayed longer than we should have (because Roan spent plenty amount of time at the gift shop, hoarding Army-related souvenirs), and so after taking a few more photos outside, we decided to leave for Big Bear; otherwise, it’d be nightfall by the time we got there.
March Field Air Museum
22550 Van Buren Boulevard,
March Air Reserve Base, CA 92518
(951) 902 5949