A few weeks back, I posted about the National Museum of the United States Air Force. Mrs Juvat and I visited it the first week in July. It was the first visit for both of us and won't be the last. If I can keep Sarge from bustin a gut every August, I'm gonna drag him there by his hair if necessary. Mere words don't describe how Awesome it really is. That having been said, I did have a bone to pick with them.
There are 60 Medal of Honor recipients from the USAF and its antecedents. However, only 59 are included on the two displays of USAF recipients in the Museum and in the Memorial Gardens. The latest recipient, CMSgt Richard Etchberger is omitted. Chief Etchberger was posthumously awarded the Medal in 2010 for actions that occurred in 1968. As I got to thinking (always dangerous), I could see a short period of time for the displays and monuments to be planned and corrected, but 6 years? So, I wrote the director a letter which, while complementing him on the museum, asked the question why was the Chief omitted. I mailed the letter while I was in Dayton, so it's been a while and I figured I wasn't getting an answer. But, lo and behold, the answer arrived in the mail last night.
With one modification (which should be obvious), here is their answer.
Well, Crap! that didn't work, showed on edit and preview last night though! Sorry.
OK, I've worked budgets, I know there's never enough money to get everything done and tough decisions have to be made. I get that.
(You know a .....But..... is coming right?)
When we were planning the visit, the Museum was trumpeting the grand opening of Building 4. That event happened the week prior to our visit (I'm not big on crowds). The new building showcases the Experimental Aircraft Exhibit as well as the Presidential Aircraft (the aircraft that acted as Air Force One over the years). Both wings were very interesting and enjoyable.
The new building and it's attachment to the rest of the museum were very well done and, because it housed some VERY large aircraft (XB-70), was a large structure. Read "large structure" as expensive.
So, it seems to me that the Museum could have added a line item to update the Medal of Honor exhibit inside the Museum. The building had to have been several million. I can't imagine commissioning a black and white framed drawing of the Chief costing more than, MAYBE, ten grand. The budget probably had 10 times that in contingency funding.
Mr. Stolle says they can't spend Government Funds for the Memorial Garden. OK, I'll accept that at face value. How much does it cost to carve a couple of lines of letters in a piece of granite? 50K? Put a deposit box out by the memorial and a sign asking for contributions to add the Last Recipient of the USAF Medal of Honor. Given what I observed about the audience visiting the Museum, I'd give it a week, maybe 10 days.
Tuna made a comment a while back that we may have seen the last flying related Medal of Honor as UAVs take on more and more aerial missions. He may be right.
The point is, and I made it before, the Museum does a great job of showing off famous aircraft. However, the reason those aircraft are famous is because of the actions of the People associated with those aircraft. Jimmy Doolittle, Chuck Yeager, Edward Mechenbier, William Pitsenberger, Neel Kearby to mention but a few. CMSGT Etchberger's name deserves to be included and recognized for what he did.
C'mon, Air Force, you're better than this!