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Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum



Welcome to the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (FLAM) aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Miramar in San Diego, California.

FLAM is one of only four Marine Corps Command Museums and is the only one dedicated to the primary purpose of preserving the Corps’ rich aviation history and traditions.

In 1989, a team of dedicated Marine volunteers, led by Brigadier General Jay Hubbard, established the museum and foundation at MCAS El Toro, California. When El Toro was closed in 1999 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC), a group of former Marines from San Diego, led by Major Generals Bob Butcher and Frank Lang, formed the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation and assumed the 501(c)(3) non-profit charter from the El Toro Foundation.

The museum is home to more than 75,000 military artifacts dating from the birth of Marine aviation in 1912 and forty-eight aircraft from WWII to the present day. Currently, only about twenty percent of the collection is on exhibit as we await approval and then construction of a 89,000-square foot permanent museum building. The museum also includes a 27,000-square foot restoration and storage facility manned by staff and volunteers.

The museum boasts many rare and historically significant artifacts and the largest display anywhere dedicated to women Marines. Also on permanent display are the twenty-nine trophies awarded yearly by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to units and individuals excelling in their occupational specialties.

The museum relies on its more than seventy volunteers for smoothly running day-to-day operations. Volunteers include docents providing information and tours, retail associates in the Museum Store and restoration workers in our modern well-stocked restoration facility. Our knowledgeable helpers donate approximately 30,000 volunteer hours each year.

In addition to a rewarding and educational museum experience, FLAM also offers a unique venue for events like children’s birthday parties, retirements, reenlistments, and receptions of all kinds, you name it! Where else can you wine and dine among historic Marine Corps warbirds?

Speaking of historic warbirds, FLAM is home to many storied aircraft. Among the most notable is the CH-46 Sea Knight (Bureau Number 154803) helicopter that evacuated the United States ambassador to South Vietnam from the embassy roof in Saigon April 30, 1975, thus ending official U.S. involvement in the war. “Lady Ace 9” is one of the aircraft usually featured in our Open Cockpit Days each summer. Visitors on Open Cockpit weekends can climb aboard the Sea Knight and into the cockpit of fighter jets.

After her historic mission, Lady Ace was assigned to another squadron and still wears its colors. Plans are in the works to repaint her with the markings she wore that historic day more than thirty years ago.

The museum is awaiting arrival of two new planes into the inventory. The T-34 B and T-34 C “Mentor” trainer aircraft. Upcoming restoration projects include work on PBJ (B-25), MiG-15, HOK, R4Q (C-119), R4D (C117) and the R5D (C-54).

One of FLAM’s newest features is the Memorial Park. A quiet contemplative spot paved with memorial bricks purchased in loved ones’ memories. This ever-expanding memorial is a thoughtful way to remember a special person.

The Museum Store on the premises offers a unique shopping experience for everyone. Items include jewelry, apparel, toys, games, books, DVDs and much more. Some items are available online as well.

The museum is always looking for more volunteers to serve as docents, retail associates in the Museum Store and skilled restoration personnel. For more information about the museum and how you can assist us in our work, please visit us online at or by calling 877-FLY-USMC.

From active duty military personnel to visitors from around the world, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is a must-see for all aviation enthusiasts. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday 9:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M. The museum’s entry is on Miramar Road, between Camino Ruiz and Cabot Drive. There is no access from MCAS Miramar. Look for the United States and Marine Corps flags proudly flanking our entry gate.

October 2008 Aviators Hot Line WARBIRDS

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