One leader will be forever linked to the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Major General Lewis E. Lyle. The museum’s rotunda is named in his honor. Maj Gen Lyle flew with the Eighth in World War II. He piloted the oooLD Soljer for 16 missions and flew more than 70 additional missions in other B-17s.

Immediately following the war, Lyle dedicated himself to helping the families of the fallen. Locating graves and handling paperwork were just two of the ways he continued to serve.
Then he turned towards the future and how these remarkable men, and their stories, could be forever preserved and shared. Unlike so many of the memorials around the world, there is no battlefield in the sky where loved ones can remember their fallen. Lyle knew there needed to be one place where the veterans of the Eighth, the families, and all those who would come after, could learn about the sacrifices and honor all who served in the Mighty Eighth.

Only a few miles from where the Eighth was activated in Savannah, this dream was realized with the Mighty Eighth Heritage Center; today’s National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force.

Unlike places such as Lexington and Concord, Gettysburg and Normandy, we cannot experience battlefields at 25,000 feet. We cannot visit the scene of the aerial conflict or recreate the battles. This history is known only from the records and preserved experiences of those who lived through such moments.

Preserving and presenting this history lies at the core of the museum’s mission. World War II Eighth Air Force veteran and long-time Mighty Eighth Museum leader and supporter, Frank D. Murphy “100th BG/418th BS” said it best: “It is incumbent on us… to ensure that their deeds and dedication will be honored and preserved from discredit or oblivion.”