Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and Memorial Airport

Though the scars of wars past fade with time, memories of camaraderie and heroism are kept alive by the venerable veterans who volunteer at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and Memorial Airport.

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Walking into the museum feels like stepping into another world for a time. Maybe it’s the 1940s music in the air, or the life-size scale model of a B-29 pilot’s bunk room, or the Boeing-Stearman PT-13 Kaydet biplane overhead. For those who haven’t served in the military, it offers interesting insights into the military life. For those who have served, especially in World War II, it’s sure to bring back poignant memories.

Schultz tells firsthand stories about some of the aircraft. Over his long career, he flew and worked in six of the types of aircraft in the museum. The museum’s collection includes a Lockheed F-80 Shooting Star, the U.S. Air Force’s first true jet fighter, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain “Gooney Bird,” the rare Bell H-47B MASH47G helicopter made famous by the television show M*A*S*H, and a plane famous for achieving a 10:1 positive kill ratio when dogfighting Soviet MIGs, the North American F-86D Sabre Dog.

Listening to Schultz and others, one realizes that this museum isn’t just a collection of old planes and helicopters, but also a repository of memories for many veterans. When asked why he worked on the museum for so many years, Schultz replied, “A lot of us here really enjoyed our time in the Air Force. It was a great time of life and this museum has the potential to keep those stories alive. We talk about our war stories all the time here, and doing the hard physical work of restoring these aircraft helps your mental state, too.” Creating the museum has certainly helped Colorado veterans work through their memories of war and loss.

For the general public, there are no firsthand memories, but a golden opportunity to share in the Pueblo veterans’ lives and knowledge. The Pueblo Weisbold Aircraft Museum represents an incredible resource that’s also fun to visit with the whole family, a place to do research in the extensive aircraft library, or simply an opportunity to visit with veterans who have dedicated themselves to creating this experience.

The museum and its members represent one of the military cornerstones in Pueblo, a city with a long history of working to keep America secure, a city with more Medal of Honor recipients  per capita than any other town in the nation, a city where men and women worked tirelessly over decades to create a facility that not only fascinates visitors, but keeps memories of the veterans’ achievements alive.

(This story originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Colorado Life Magazine)

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