Reserve Wing's Humanitarian Missions on Display at Dayton Peace Museum
By Charlie Miller, 445 Airlift Wing
/ Published July 05, 2007
DAYTON, Ohio -- For some, seeing a military exhibit at a peace museum might seem out of place, even frightening. But that's not the case at the Dayton International Peace Museum, Dayton, Ohio. The museum is currently featuring a display highlighting the humanitarian work of the U. S. Air Force Reserve 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. And it looks like the exhibit, "Flights for Peace," is a perfect fit.
"I'm pleased to have the display so we can try and dispel the fallacy that peace and the military don't go together," said Steve Fryburg, the museum's director and operations manager. "That's the whole reason for the display. The military can be used as a tool of construction. Our strength as a country is together, not a fractured community. So, yes, the display is a good fit."
The 445th, which is within the Dayton metro area, has a rich history of providing humanitarian relief during peacetime and war. The wing has transported thousands of tons of relief aid into many areas of the U.S. and the world that have been devastated by natural disaster as well as transporting wounded from combat areas and civilians to safety.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the 445th delivered critically needed medical supplies, food and clothing into New Orleans and Mississippi. The wing also transported doctors, nurses, medical technicians, FEMA employees and others to the storm-ravaged region.
Part of the exhibit shows the wing' s effort in disaster relief, showing military personnel helping after Hurricanes Rita, Mitch and Katrina. Another part shows the airlift of the wounded military and civilians out of Iraq. There are photos of military medical professionals providing humanitarian relief in a remote part of Guatemala. They also work at a variety of American Indian reservations as well.
"Operation Deep Freeze" is an ongoing mission for the Air Force and Air Force Reserve which supplies McMurdo Station, Antarctica. The 445th has flown there numerous times delivering instruments, food, and supplies to the scientists.
Bill McIntire, who is the Public Relations director at the museum, wanted to bring the military to the peace museum.
"I felt that the military often is portrayed negatively in the media and I wanted to bring to light all the good the military does for civilians and servicemen," McIntire said. He noted that the 60th anniversary of the Air Force and having the 445th in the community were part of the reason for including them.
"The 445th has airlifted doctors and supplies to Sub-Saharan Africa, flown civilians from combat zones and much more," McIntire said. "The Peace Museum believes that these types of missions are critical in fighting the War on Terror. The humanitarian missions don't just demonstrate the compassion of the American people and the U.S. military but they show with their outcomes that they are more powerful than any weapon the enemy has."
This is a direct way to show the world that we care for their well-being and to negate the influence of terrorists and insurgent groups, McIntire said.
Both Fryburg and McIntire said they hoped many 445th members and other military members come to the museum, as well as area residents.
"Many of the 445th personnel live in the Dayton area and their accomplishments, through the exhibit, will demonstrate to Dayton residents that they, too, can work to change the world in a positive and peaceful way," McIntire said.
"Here at the museum we are pro-peace, we want a peaceful future," Fryburg said. "The military can act as a vehicle for diplomacy."
The 445th's Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron provided a patient, actually a full-size mannequin on a litter, along with a number of medical monitoring instruments they use during an actual medical airlift of wounded from a combat zone or a natural disaster area. The squadron has airborne flight surgeons, nurses and EMT's that stabilize and attend to the wounded and sick during a flight.
This military exhibit is a first for the peace museum. Recently, they conducted a clothes drive for Afghans, spearheaded by an Army lieutenant serving in Afghanistan who had Dayton contacts, but that was about the extent of the museum's connections with the military. That is, until now.
The exhibit on the 445th is set to run until the end of September. The Dayton International Peace Museum is located at 208 W. Monument St., Dayton, Ohio. They are open Tuesday through Saturday 10:00 to 5:00 and noon to 5:00 on Sunday. There is no admission, and all staff members are volunteers.