Friday afternoon we went to a lecture at the Marietta Aviation Museum, a branch of the Marietta Museum of History (MMH) next door to the Lockheed-Dobbins complex. The lecture was held aboard a non-operational C-141 aircraft.
I didn’t read the details of the invitation, just the bottom line telling the date and time. Having no idea what to expect, I thought it would be something about airplanes. I was right. White plastic stackable chairs were lined up in rows. Up front behind the pilots’ cabin sat a podium, a screen, and a computer for a slide show. Of course we were early so we sat up front. While waiting, several men were talking about different planes they flew – being pilots or crewmen for just the kind of plane we were sitting in or other planes that are on exhibit there.
Ms Amy Reed, curator of the museum, introduced the speaker, Mr. Narayan Sangupta. Having written several books on previous wars, his focus was on AMERICAN EAGLES – US MILITARY AVIATION OF WORLD WAR I. We were all amazed by his extensive knowledge of names, facts, and statistics without referring to any notes. The slide show of the aerial war zones, planes, and groups of pilots gave his lecture a visual complement. We gained a good deal more knowledge of aviation in WWI.
Mr. Sangupta pointed out one difference in today’s modern war times and WWI - the rich do not do much fighting. The blunt of the war is handled by the working class, but in World War I that was not the case. The ivy-league college boys jumped in to experience aviation first-hand. Aerial airplane dog fights were praised like a sporting competition. Quentin Roosevelt, US President Theodore Roosevelt’s son was killed in WWI combat, and is the only son of an acting President killed in combat to date.
His lecture reminded me of one of EC’s most fascinating comic books, ACES HIGH, which is mostly about WWI aerial fights – those magnificent early flying machines. During his question and answer period at the end, I thought about raising my hand and asking if he’d ever heard of ACEs HIGH comic books, but thought that just might bring down the dignity of the lecture a notch or too – not from my standpoint, but from others who might not appreciate the art and story-telling that goes into comic books. He spoke highly of Eddie Rickenbacker on several occasions which brought to mind how my Uncle Jack Hunter pulled Eddie Rickenbacker out of the Pacific waters – but this lecture wasn’t about me bragging on my family.
Good presentation, MMH and Mr. Sangupta! Thanks!