All photographs from the CAF Central Texas Facebook page by permission
U.S. military, history, and aviation buffs need to visit the Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing right here in San Marcos, Texas. This slice of Air Force history honors the memory of significant moments in American military aviation, as well as the men and women who served in the U.S. Air Force.
What to Expect
The Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing’s Facebook page states, “The CAF was founded to acquire, restore and preserve in flying condition a complete collection of combat aircraft which were flown by all military services of the United States, and selected aircraft of other nations, for the education and enjoyment of present and future generations of Americans.”
The Commemorative Air Force hangar and museum has five rooms filled with collections of aviation memorabilia on display. This is a city historic landmark. There is an emphasis on the World War II era, but several decades of military and aviation history are represented.
The five rooms of the Commemorative Air Force museum hold articles from WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the San Marcos Army Navigation School, Pearl Harbor, and more. Among the historical relics, expect to see uniforms, weapons, airborne camera equipment, survival gear, and photographs.
The hangar houses beautiful flying machines. The seven retired U.S. military planes will fascinate everyone from the most casual aviation admirer to the military history fanatic.
The hangar also houses a Bell 47G helicopter, WWII Jeep, 1916 Republic Truck, and A-4 and C-47 cockpits.
Commemorative Air Force Ghost Squadron
This fleet is respectfully named the “Ghost Squadron.” The hangar is open to the public and the Wing men, passionate volunteer members of the museum, will even act as guides to give more information.
The planes in the collection are:
- B-25 “Yellow Rose:” The Central Texas Wing fully restored this WWII bomber to WWII condition over four years and hours of volunteer labor. The Yellow Rose visits around 25 cities and towns every year as part of the Commemorative Air Force’s mission to educate and commemorate.
- C-47 “That’s All, Brother:” This is the lead aircraft in the D-Day invasion, and is currently on tour in the U.S. and U.K. The Commemorative Air Force and Nik Coleman Television USA are making a documentary on its restoration.
- P-39 “Big D:” This is one of only two regularly flying P-39s in the world.
- T-6 Texan “Red Tail:” This small, distinctive plane proudly sports bright red, white, and blue colors.
- C-45 “Lone Star Lady:” As you may expect, she’s a real looker. The “Lone Star Lady” came to the Commemorative Air Force in San Marcos in 2015 and has had quite a makeover, inside and out. She may be the shiniest of all.
- U-3A “Blue Canoe:” This aircraft got its name from its paint scheme: dark blue on the bottom and white on top, giving it the appearance of a blue canoe. While some U-3s had different paint designs, the name stuck.
- BT-13A: This model was the most widely used pilot trainer aircraft during WWII.
Even You Can Take Flight
If you love to fly and have always dreamed of riding in one of these classic beauties, then now you can! The Commemorative Air Force Central Texas Wing currently offers flights in the “Yellow Rose,” Texan “Red Tail,” and the “Blue Canoe.” You can purchase a flight experience here.
Each one of these classic planes harks back to important moments in U.S. military aviation history. It’s hard not to feel nostalgic as we remember those who built them, maintained them, and flew them for our freedom.
1841 Airport Dr. Bldg. 2249 – Website