By Jay Lloyd
WILDWOOD, N.J. (CBS) — Recently, when a driving rain slashed the Jersey shore, we went looking for an indoor retreat. And we found a gem at the Wildwood Naval Air Station.
During World War II, it once trained the men who would do some of the war’s most dangerous flying — the torpedo bomber pilots.
“Forty-two men died, training here,” says Bruce Fournier, who runs this hands-on aviation museum in the restored, cavernous, hangar from the 1940s dedicated to the memory of those young pilots.
The aircraft on display range from 1930s trainers (top photo) to a Grumman Avenger (below), a workhorse of the Pacific campaign, to jet fighters that covered the skies over Iraq.
“We have Vietnam-era aircraft that have bullet holes in them,” Fournier notes. “We’ve had pilots come back to see the aircraft that they were actually in.”
And kids are welcome to climb into the cockpits and experience the fantasy of flight.