The Memorial Park and B-52G Stratofortress
An Iconic Aircraft
One of The Museum of Flight’s largest and most iconic aircraft, the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress #59-2584, has been lost in plain sight for the past 24 years. Like other American veterans of the Vietnam War, the Museum’s B-52 is well deserving of attention. This patriarch of all large jets has been parked on the grass in the middle of Paine Field in Everett, Washington, for decades, a silent witness to the emergence of its newest Boeing descendants manufactured and flown from the same airport.
The time has come for this veteran warbird to be restored to its glory and given a new home and a place of honor. The B-52 Vietnam Air War Memorial Park on The Museum of Flight’s Boeing Field campus will be that place. The B-52 will be the centerpiece of a park remembering all of the aircraft flown in the Vietnam War, and honoring the crews that flew and supported them.
The U.S. Air Force initially deployed the Boeing B-52 in 1955. The Museum’s B-52G was built in 1960. Nicknamed “Midnight Express,” the plane was one of 193 G-models. The plane was in service with the Strategic Air Command until it was placed on long-term loan with the Museum. The Stratofortress was designed as a nuclear-armed platform during the 1950s Cold War, and was used extensively in the Vietnam War. The Museum’s B-52 is a Vietnam veteran. It flew in Operation Linebacker II, which eventually resulted in the release of 591 U.S. POWs.
As a veteran-lead initiative, Project “Welcome Home” is a perfect fit with The Museum of Flight’s mission of preserving and sharing military history.
Midnight Express - The Museum's Stratofortress
The restored Midnight Express will reside in a park-like setting on the west side of the Museum’s Aviation Pavilion as a quiet place to reflect upon the B-52 and the nearly 8,000 other U.S. military aircraft lost during Vietnam. The plane will be joined by a statue of a returning aviator honoring veterans of the war who served in all military branches between 1964 and1975. The park will include an exhibit about the dozens of types of planes and helicopters flown during the war. This will be one of the nation’s only memorials dedicated to the Vietnam Air War. The site will be free of charge, and open to all who wish to learn, honor, contemplate and remember.
This noble project will be a huge endeavor: the plane will first need to be refinished and painted at Paine Field, then be partially disassembled, moved to the memorial park, and reassembled. The project will also involve site development and other landscaping, as well as developing exhibit materials to tell the story of the Vietnam War. The total project budget is $2.2 million dollars. We invite your support to help bring this important project to completion.