Sunday, January 13, 2019

Isaac's Field Trip

Tuesday, January 8th was Isaac's 16th birthday. It was a school day and a work day, so the celebrating was limited.  Instead we planned a field trip with family for Saturday. 

Somewhere  Isaac developed an interest in old military tanks. He saw some earlier at the Joint Base Lewis McChord Museum. There are a lot more at the late Paul Allen's Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum, or, in other words, a collection old military planes and tanks from prior to about 1960. 

This museum is located in the hangers that surround Paine Field and the Boeing Plant at Everett, Washington, north of Seattle. That's where we went on Saturday. 

It was a beautiful day.
Upon entering the first of three museum hangers we were introduced to Art. Arthur Unruh is a decorated WWII veteran of 50 missions as a gunner on B-17s, flying out of Foggia, Italy. He wrote a book about his years of service.
He also had objects of interest: hand grenades, very heavy helmets, and most especially the three pieces of jagged metal, flak, that he took from his pocket. He said more planes were downed by the heavy flak casings than by actual gunning, and he has a vivid memory of the flak shell that exploded right outside his window that scattered metal fragments throughout his plane, including the three he carries. That's an up close and personal experience. And Art is a treasure. 

Then we were off to explore.

Gunners didn't have much protection. 

Planes in this collection were found all over the world. This one was found in a jungle.  Another was found at the bottom of a lake, bombs and rockets still strapped under the wings. All the the planes here are completely restored to operating order, and all but two are flown on a regular basis to keep them in good condition. 

This is one of the planes that is not flown, because it is the only one of its type left in existence. 
As you can see, it was a German plane, surrendered in 1945. 
This is a V-2 rocket, of the type that blitzed London and other European cities. 

The V-1 German "vengeance weapon" was the first guided missile used in war. 

This "tractor" carried the shells and pulled the anti-aircraft Flak guns, 

Mission markers
 A separate side gallery discusses the causes and the results of the various US wars. I am not one to glorify war, and hold out hope that lessons learned will not be repeated. 

 I did find this to be almost a bit of comic relief. 
 This not so much, wooden rattles to warm of poisonous gasses. 
And certainly not these, models of the first two Atom bombs, dropped on Japan. As the sign says, they changed warfare forever. 

 Back in the galleries, some interesting details on tanks. 

 Plane paint. 

 And more in another hanger.

 OK, I saw a cute face on this weapon of destruction. 

 This flag flew on one of the first vessels in combat at sunrise on D-Day. A survivor of the landing, the tank carrier's captain ordered a new flag flown. The crewman kept this one and it survived in a shoe box for many years. 

 Aircraft carrier planes used in the Pacific front. 

 Paul Allen's space toys, the space craft and its plane launcher. 

 I asked Isaac which tank he liked best. This one, the Churchill Mk VII Crocodile, because it was so heavily armored and "it has a flame thrower". 

 We all found different reasons to like or appreciate this museum field trip.  It is certainly a priceless treasure of preservation and well worth more than one visit. I personally gained an increased appreciation of the personnel, the people, who maintained these craft in very difficult situations, and those who flew the missions and manned the tanks, and all of the other men, and some women, who risked their lives, and gave their lives, for causes they believed in. 

Then we went to a late lunch. Then we worked our way back through Seattle traffic to our house where, because it was a birthday, there was cake!

While they didn't see sea turtles on their Mexican vacation right after Christmas, they did see them in Hawaii last spring break, and they love them and they remind them of snorkeling in the balmy tropical waters, so that's what Irene chose to make as a cake for her brother. And yes, she made it all by herself.  
Happy Birthday, Isaac!
And with that, this post is finally extinguished. 


  1. It's wonderful when the grand kids develop a new interest -- then grandparents get to learn or try something new as well. Reeders have the best birthdays.

  2. I had no idea this museum is at Paine Field. It is a place I would like to visit myself. I keep thinking about that Agatha Christie quote. Thanks for the wonderful tour, LInda. And happy 16th birthday to Isaac! :-)

  3. wow what a birthday to the tall one...doesn't take long. My next to oldest grandson is now 6 ft, his dad is 6'5" Lots of talk young men growing around us.

  4. Happy birthday Isaac. Isaac chose a great place to visit.I'd visit this place too. I see Isaac might be the tallest in the family now.

  5. Wow, how did he become 16 so quick? Time sure flies. That museum was amazing and so huge. As fierce as those weapons were, they are nothing compared to what we have to live with today. Man is certainly creative in ways to eliminate eachother.

  6. Best wishes to Isaac and great job to Irene making the sea turtle cake.

  7. Happy Birthday Isaac!! What an amazing place. Irene did a great job on the cake. She is an artist, isn't she. Jill and Isaac and Irene are are so beautiful!

  8. Happy Birthday Isaac! Isn't it so amazing how quickly they've been growing up? I'm remembering him at 6.
    By the way, thank you for the heads up about the spam comment. It's really annoying. I was sorry to have to add the word verification thing for a while.

  9. Happy Birthday Isaac. How time flies. An interesting museum.

  10. Happy Birthday to your Isaac! he is growing up so fast! What a fun day for him, interesting too!


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