7 MAY 2018

Major Glenn Ferguson and the Irene Ferguson Marine Wife Recognition Award

Marine Wife Recognition Award San Diego, CA

Major Glenn Ferguson, age 96, talks to Hometown Heroes about starting the Marine Wife Recognition Award in honor of his late wife.  Ferguson served in the Marine Corps from 1939 until 1963, retiring as a major, and is the son of a World War I Marine.  The interview takes place at Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, San Diego, CA.

Watch the Marine Wife Recognition Award video

Hometown Heroes:  I see all these trophies. These are given out each year, and we see the Marines on the wall who outperformed all of the other Marines on that specific duty for that specific year.

Then we have this plaque over here on the wall that says: Irene Ferguson, Marine Wife Recognition Award. How did this happen? Where did this come from?

Major Ferguson: It's just that a lot of Marines believe that it's the wife that frees us to go overseas. When the General and I discussed it, we thought it would be a good idea that we show our appreciation to the wives, because you travel all over the world. You won't see monuments or statues to them, yet they deserve them as much as we do.

The thing that I like to make sure that I don't miss is the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation Gala where the awards are made by the General, and the women tell about the exploits of their contemporaries.

Hometown Heroes:  And if it has your wife's name on it, she must have set the standard for Marine wives.

Major Ferguson:  Well, I'd like to think that she does, but Marine wives have been supporting their men for decades long before either one of us showed up. It's always been that way. As a matter a fact, I guess it was even worse in the years gone by.

Hometown Heroes:  What does it take to be a Marine?

Major Ferguson:  Well, you have to dedicate yourself. A Marine can't just walk in and live the way so many of them do. They're sloppy and indifferent, especially on the jobs that they do. They have to be exacting. Sometimes, we put men of a little rank in very important jobs, and they expect them to outperform. That's the Marine way.

Like the sergeants used to say, "Don't ask questions. Do it."

Hometown Heroes:  Lastly, what does it take to be a Marine wife?

Major Ferguson:  Well, it takes a lot of guts. It takes a lot of work, a tremendous amount of work and dedication and understanding, a lot of understanding. A lot of forgiving, because the husband too often is gone, not there to comfort neither her nor the rest of the family. So, she has to do it all.


NASA flight logos Flying Leathernecks San Diego
7 APRIL 2018

Unique Aviation Art and NASA Flight Logos at Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Major General Bob Butcher (USMC Ret.), chairman of the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation's board of directors, talks about the aircraft he flew, as well as some of the amazing exhibits at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum in San Diego, CA.

See the video from Hometown Heroes

Hometown Heroes:  These are the planes you flew?

General Butcher: Yes, the Air Force Skyhawk is really kind of special for me because it's the first airplane I flew out of the training command in 1960, and I was lucky to be able to fly it for 31 years. The last A4 that I flew was of course a two seater down at Barber's Point in Hawaii.  But in the interim, I got to fly just about every model of the A4 ever made, starting with the A4 C but then I went back and flew with the Reserves, got to fly the A4 D1, which was the A4 A, and almost everything in between. I never got to fly the Israeli version, but all of the American versions I got to fly.

Hometown Heroes:  What's unique about this painting of these A4s in action?

General Butcher:  R.G. Smith is a famous aviation artist, and R.G. has done something really special with this one because it doesn't matter where you stand in this room, the A4s are flying straight at you, directly toward you.

Hometown Heroes: How's that possible?

General Butcher:  I don't know how that's possible. I knew R.G. Smith. NASA flight logos Flying Leathernecks San DiegoHe's passed away now, but had I seen this before he passed away, I would surely have asked him because it really is special.

Hometown Heroes:  Well, they do have a lot of special things all over this museum and we've seen a few of them, but there's also a little bit of space history around the corner here.

General Butcher:  Yes, there is. We have what I think is really very, very special. They managed to save the logos of every flight that NASA ever flew.  One of my good friends was the number two guy at NASA, the United Space Alliance, which was a conglomerate that put together all of the different contractors at NASA under one hat. He had this made for us.  It's really special because it shows not only every flight that NASA ever flew, but it also shows every flight a Marine was on -- with the gold logos behind.

There are fully 25 percent of the flights ever known by NASA had at least one Marine on them, including John Glenn who was the first Marine to fly in space, and Charlie Bolden, who became the NASA Administrator after his retirement from NASA. Charlie was also the Commanding General of the Aircraft Wing here at Miramar, and I got to know Charlie pretty well. He's a good friend. He flew four different flights with NASA, including one with the Soviets.

Lady Ace helicopter

MCAS Miramar Air Show
September 22-24, 2017

Lady Ace helicopter

Don’t miss Flying Leathernecks vintage aircraft at the MCAS Miramar Air Show.  (The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum will be closed September 22-24, 2016, Friday – Sunday, during the Show.)

A great friend of the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum, George Haloulakos, CFA, posted this online:

"Please join me in honoring our Vietnam War Veterans at the upcoming MCAS Miramar Air Show (September 22-24, 2017). These men and women showed uncommon valor in executing their duties while fulfilling their commitment of service to the US Armed Forces. Of note, the US Marine Corps provided ground, air, supply and logistic support throughout the Vietnam War with nearly 500,000 Marines serving in Southeast Asia from 1965-1975. Among this valiant assemblage, over 13,000 were killed and 88,000 wounded (approximately one-third of all American casualties during the war)."

Beginning in September, visitors to the museum will see our Marine airplane and helicopter displays being prepared for moving to the Air Show. For example, our crew will be folding the rotors of the CH-46 “Lady Ace” helicopter.  Come and see how ground crews were able to make more room on an aircraft carrier by making each aircraft take up less space.

For those attending the Air Show (admission is FREE), you’ll be able to take photos of you and your family with our legendary aircraft . . .

On the flight line:

  • A-6E Intruder
  • A-4C Skyhawk
  • F9F-8P Cougar
  • RF-8U Crusader
  • RF-4 Phantom II

In the Expo hangar:

  • UH-34 Seahorse
    CH-46 Seaknight (Lady Ace 09)

And we'll also have several Vietnam era Vehicles on display, including:

  • M-50 "Ontos"
  • M-42 "Duster"
  • M-35 2 1/2 ton truck
  • M-151A1 Jeep w trailer
  • M-422 Mighty Mite

General Jimmy Doolittle once commented, “There’s nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer.” This certainly describes the quality of the volunteer team at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum. Stop by one of our display areas at the Show and say hello to our docents.

Find out what’s new at Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum

Text FLYUSMC to 42828 to receive email updates on special programs, Picnics with Pilots, essay contests for students, and new exhibits.

Remember, we love to see photos of your experience. Post them to our Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum Facebook page.

See you at the Air Show!

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26 APRIL 2017

Leatherneck Legacy Lives on Through Aviation

(reprinted in part from a story by Sgt. David Bickel at https://www.dvidshub.net/news/229559/leatherneck-legacy-lives-through-aviation.)

As an organization, the Marine Corps culture is based on rigid tradition with a rich historical path paved by the Marines of bygone eras. Part of that legacy is Marine aviation, preserved by a hidden gem containing historically significant equipment, aircraft and stories, located just outside of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.

The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum came into existence after a similar aviation museum at MCAS El Toro closed after the air station was decommissioned in 1999.

“Gen. Jay Hubbard, who started the museum at MCAS El Toro, called me up and said that they were going to close MCAS El Toro and move the museum to MCAS Miramar,” said retired Maj. Gen. Bobby Butcher, a Vietnam veteran and museum chairman of the board. “I joined his board of directors in 1997 at El Toro, formed a steering committee at MCAS Miramar in early 1999, and on April 1, 1999, I started the museum foundation down here.”

The museum is home to rotary aircraft and several fixed wing assets which have been used throughout the Marine Corps’ history.

“I flew the A-4 Skyhawk for 31 years, and we have several versions outside,” said Butcher. “We have a drone outside that has seen combat in Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as many more aircraft that have been in combat.”

Many of the aircraft displayed at the museum have seen combat with different squadrons throughout the years.

“I’ve flown an OV-10 Bronco,” said Butcher. “The one that we have outside actually saw combat as part of a Navy Squadron in Vietnam and the Marine Corps used it in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”

Veterans are the primary volunteers at the museum and often share their individual stories and experiences with guests.

“When I came back from Vietnam, we were briefed before they turned us loose and let us go,” recalled Butcher. “They insisted that we changed into civilian clothes because if we went out of the gate in uniform, we would get spit on and have things thrown at us.”


(The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information on this page does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement.)

8 JUNE 2016

Medal of Honor (MoH) Stories Kiosk Celebrates Recipients

medal of honor interactive exhibit The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum is pleased to announce our newest display -- the Medal of Honor Stories Kiosk, celebrating America’s Medal of Honor recipients.

This interactive exhibit highlights the men and women who have received our nation’s highest award for valor in combat. This display was made possible, in part, by a grant from the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation.

The Medal of Honor was established in 1861, and is awarded for personal acts of valor “above and beyond the call of duty.” Since the American Civil War, more than 40 million individuals have served in the United States Armed Forces. However, barely more than 3,500 men and women have been awarded the Medal of Honor.[1]

The database of the Medal of Honor kiosk contains a complete, searchable catalog of all Medal of Honor recipients. The exhibit also presents video interviews with MoH recipients who share their stories of valor, devotion to duty, faith and service to our country.

The Medal of Honor Stories Kiosk is a natural complement to the Museum’s Hall of Heroes exhibit. Guests can learn about every Medal of Honor recipient, including the Marine Corps aviators that have been so honored. This exhibit is also an important part of the Flying Leatherneck’s education initiatives and student outreach. It will be used as a tool to educate and inspire students about the importance of “Honor, Courage and Commitment,” patriotism and American history.

The Flying Leathernecks encourage everyone to experience the Medal of Honor Stories Kiosk during your next museum visit.

[1] To date, Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor. Doctor Walker served as a battlefield surgeon for the Union Army during the Civil War.

flying leatherneck aviation museum on facebook
31 AUGUST 2015

The Museum has a New Facebook Page

flying leatherneck aviation museum on facebookThere’s a new way to stay connected to your favorite Aviation Museum in San Diego at MCAS Miramar. We’ve just launched our new Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum on FaceBook page. Check in daily to see what’s new in exhibits, restoration projects, visitors, retirement ceremonies, and much more at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.

Visit the new page -- Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum on Facebook  -- and “Like” us!

And while you’re there -- tell us about your summer visit to the Museum. Post your best photos and share the fun!

We’re building momentum for the future. When you’re in the San Diego area, bring your family, friends and future aviators. It’s fun and admission is always free.  (We hope to see you Tuesday - Sunday, 9am -3:30pm.)

Our docents are always there to make your visit memorable.

“Like” us on FaceBook

“Follow us” on Twitter

Post video on YouTube.

18 AUGUST 2015

Meet this WWII, Korean War, and Presidential Pilot on August 22 and 23

During our last open cockpit days of the 2015 summer season, meet Major Glenn Ferguson (USMC-Retired).  Oh, the stories the Major can tell about his long distinguished career as:

  • World War II dive-bomber pilot – when he crashed on a battleship, and experienced engine failure on several occasions
  • Korean War medical evacuation pilot – ferrying wounded by helicopter (like they showed in the TV show MASH), and holding 3 prisoners at bay with the rotating blades of his helicopter
  • Co-pilot of Marine One for Presidents Eisenhower and Nixon

From forced landings to bungee cord helicopter controls, Major Ferguson can tell some amazing stories!

 Come meet him from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm, August 22 and 23

Maj Glenn Ferguson joined the Marine Corps in 1939, hoping to see the world and fulfill a boyhood dream of becoming a pilot.  His Marine Corps career began at boot camp in San Diego.

Assignment in Washington, D.C. – including the White House

Major Ferguson provided protection for couriers carrying top secret war documents across the country,  and helped set up security (including getting rid of copperheads) at Shangri Lai (the presidential retreat that later became known as Camp David).

He checked in dignitaries at the East Wing of the F.D.R. White House.

  • At this stage in his career, the only aircraft he flew were model airplanes. One of those models got away, and he had to climb out a window and onto the roof of the White House to retrieve it. ( Too bad camera phones weren’t around then . . .)

Pilot Training

  • Trained to be a pilot in open air, fabric-covered bi-planes called “yellow perils” that were started by the students cranking a heavy flywheel. He learned landing and acrobatics.
  • Qualified to fly dive bombers, torpedo bombers and fighters.
  • Made landings over the front of the old whale boats as a machine gunner and participated in practice landings in pre-Higgins Boat training exercises.

World War II Combat Action

Major Ferguson had an accident with breech on a hot gun in a battleship. (Be sure to ask him about that one!)

  • He was sent to Pearl Harbor in 1944 to be part of the planned first wave of the invasion of the Japanese homeland in which 1 million casualties were expected. Practiced carrier landings by landing on the outline of a carrier deck on the island of Molokai. When Japan surrendered, he was diverted to serve as a dive bomber in China where the Manchurian Army had not yet surrendered.
  • After the war, he served as a Marine Corps test pilot and flight instructor. The Major experienced several “incidents” of engine failure during these early days of flight with the military pushing aircraft to the limits.
  • In 1950, he was trained to fly helicopters in Pensacola. (Early versions of helicopters had flight controls partly assisted with bungee cords . . . pilots appreciated a craft with newly-replaced bungee cords!)  He had an engine explode while carrying the Undersecretary of the Navy, and later made a forced landing on a dark night in the hills of Southern Okinawa.

The Korean Conflict

  • In 1952, he was sent to Korea as a medical-evacuation pilot. Helicopters of the time were not equipped with sophisticated instruments for flying at night, so he sometimes had to navigate by starlight.  Wounded were carried outside with a metal hood over their heads to protect them from air currents, and sandbags were used to balance loads.
  • Was able to hold three prisoners at bay so they could be apprehended by military police by using the turning blades of a helicopter.
  • Finished tour with 134 missions (29 of which were night missions) and evacuated 132 wounded.

Return to Washington, D.C.

  • As part of the HMX squadron, he served as Marine One co-pilot for President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon. He flew President Eisenhower on trips throughout the United States (including trips to his farm in Gettysburg) and on his tours of the Middle East and South America.

See Invested in Tomorrows Leaders for more information on Major Ferguson.


Aviation Museum Medal of Honor Recipients
10 AUGUST 2015

Renovation Reveals New Hall of Heroes

Welcome to the “Dog Days” of summer. If you haven’t heard, the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum (at MCAS Miramar in San Diego) is getting a facelift. Spread the word!

hall of heroesDuring the months of July and August 2015, the museum gallery renovation is continuing at a rapid pace. Thankfully, there are no plastic surgeons involved. For those following us @FlyUSMC1 on Twitter, you would have seen the addition of new carpeting, freshly-painted walls, and most importantly -- the newest addition to our displays, The Hall of Heroes.

Hall of Heroes Paintings Honor USMC Medal of Honor and Navy Cross Recipients

The Hall of Heroes is a one-of-a-kind collection of paintings commissioned by the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation that honors Medal of Honor (MOH) and Navy Cross recipients. Learn about the Marines who have helped preserve our Nation's freedom. Under each painting is a gold-framed citation that describes the action that resulted in the award of the MOH or the Navy Cross.

When you’re in the San Diego area. bring your family, friends and future aviators. It’s fun and admission is always free.  (We hope to see you Tuesday - Sunday, 9am -3:30pm.)

phrog CH-46 marine helicopter
23 JULY 2015

Farewell to the Phrog

Pilot Talk:  Farewell to the "Phrog"
Saturday, August 1st     11:00 am-noon

phrog CH-46 marine helicopterAfter more than 50 years of service, the United States Marine Corps is retiring the CH-46 helicopter (nicknamed the “Phrog”).

Colonel Fred Allega (USMC-retired) will share some of his experiences as a pilot of the iconic helicopter and other aircraft he flew.

Colonel Allega served for 30 years in the Marine Corps including two combat tours in Vietnam.  He has a total of 4200 flight hours including 1500 in the CH-46 helicopter.

During his career, he was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 27 air medals.

Colonel Allega served as the Presidential Helicopter Airlift Commander for Presidents Nixon and Ford.

In 1981, he was recognized as the Marine Aviator of the Year.

At the end of his talk, Colonel Allega will give tours of the CH-46 helicopter on display at the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum.

More About Colonel Allega's Distinguished Military Service

Colonel Allega began his military career as a Marine Aviation Cadet (MARCAD).  Upon receiving his Wings of Gold, he served two combat tours as a helicopter pilot in the Republic of Vietnam, earning two Distinguished Flying Crosses, two Single Mission Air Medals and twenty-five Air Medals.

During his career, Colonel Allega was assigned to the following CH-46 squadrons:  HMM-361, HMM-265, HMM-262, HMM-165, HMM-163and HMX-1.  Additionally, he served a tour in VT-2 as a T-28 Flight Instructor,   During his HMX-1 tour, Colonel Allega served as a Presidential Helicopter Aircraft Commander for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

Following his tours in Vietnam, Colonel Allega served several tours in the Aviation Department, Headquarter Marine Corps. In his role as Director, Aviation Program Requirements (APW), he contributed to numerous projects supporting operational requirements, organizational strategy and investment decisions to attain increased funding for Marine Corps aviation weapon programs.

Colonel Allega’s command billets include Commanding Officer HMM-163 (“Evil Eyes”) and  Commanding Officer, Marine Aircraft Group 16.  In 1981,  LtCol Allega, was selected as the Marine Corps Aviator of the Year and received the Alfred A. Cunningham Award from the Marine Corps Aviation Association.  Simultaneously, his squadron HMM-163, was awarded the MCAA Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron of the year.

His Love of Aviation Continued into His Career in Private Industry

Colonel Allega retired from the Marine Corps in 1990 and joined Mercury Air Group Inc.  As Executive General Manager, he directed corporate/airline fueling and monitored aircraft maintenance operations at Los Angeles (LAX) International airport.  As the Director of the Western Region, Allega directed Fixed Based Operations (FBO) for Los Angeles, John Wayne, Ontario, Burbank, Bakersfield, Fresno and Reno airports.  The facilities under his responsibility dispensed over 100-million gallons of jet fuel per year and provided airline turnaround maintenance for 400 aircraft per month.  During his tenure, Allega participated in the acquisition and consolidation of four additional general aviation businesses. He retired from Mercury Aviation in June, 2006.

Colonel Allega holds a commercial pilot’s license and is an instrument rated pilot authorized to fly single-engine, multi-engine and helicopter aircraft.