Visitors who have received a preview of the exhibit described it as intuitive and said they liked the way it lets them connect with individual paratroopers, said Marie Angoulvant, an artist with Histovery, the company that helped put the experience together.
“It’s a lot less textbook-ish,” Angoulvant joked.
The new display will cost visitors $5 and will be available at the museum through the end of the year. The museum could look to use the technology being used on in the D-Day exhibit in other ways in the future at the museum, said Chuck Edmonson, marketing director of the Air Force Museum Foundation.
June 6, 1944 was the day allied forces launched a combined naval air and land attack on Nazi-occupied France. More than 13,000 paratroopers from allied countries were dropped behind enemy lines early on D-Day, which is commonly known as the turning point of World War II.
“Without the Army Air Force, there would have been no D-Day because they needed control of the air over Normandy,” Duford said. “They essentially broke the back of the German fighter force…(Normandy) literally looked like the surface of the moon.”
Along with the new exhibit, museum visitors will be able to see movies and guest speakers Monday and on the actual anniversary when there will be a 10 a.m. wreath laying with military vehicles and a flyover by a C-47 aircraft.
Paratroopers were scheduled to jump from a C-35D aircraft called D-Day Doll, which took part in the Normandy invasion in 1944 around 10 a.m. Monday, however inclement weather forced a cancellation of that portion off the program. The plane dropped paratroopers, towed gliders, transported supplies and evacuated wounded soldiers during the invasion.
The paratroopers had hoped their demonstration Monday would pay tribute to World War II veterans as the D-Day anniversary approaches, said Retired Col. Timothy Tarris, pilot and D-Day Doll Project officer.
“It is our duty to remember those of the ‘Greatest Generation,’ and we are honored to do so,” Tarris said. “Flying D-Day Doll is not only a fitting tribute to all of the WWII veterans in attendance and the millions of people they represent, but also helps to keep their story alive and educate new generations of Americans.”
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D-Day by the numbers
150,000: American, British, and Canadian forces landed on five beaches.
13,000: Allied paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines.
1,789: Eighth Air Force heavy bombers dropped bombs on costal beaches.
2,000: Ninth Air Force fighters escorted bobmers and provided support.
1,400: Transport aircraft amd gliders delivered airborne divisions.
D-Day Events at the museum
9 a.m.: Ribbon cutting of Freedom From Above exhibit in building two.
10 a.m.: C-35D flyover and paratrooper jump on runway behind museum.
10:30 a.m.: Paratrooper meet and greet at Memorial Park at museum.
12 p.m.: “D-Day: Normany 1944” movie in Air Force Museum theater
8:30 p.m.: Living History Series on “Secret Spitfires.”
9 a.m.: Comemmoration of anniversary.
10 a.m.: Wreath laying and C-47 flyover at Memorial Park.
12 p.m.: “D-Day: Normany 1944” movie in Air Force museum theater.
12:15 p.m.: 101st Airborne Division re-enactors in WWII gallery.
4 p.m.: “D-Day: Normany 1944” movie in Air Force museum theater.
8:30 p.m.: Living History Series on “Sunken Roads: 70 Years after D-Day.”