Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Highland Lakes Air Museum

The Highland Lakes Air Museum is located in the hill country town of Burnet at Kate Craddock Field. The museum is managed by the Highland Lakes Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF), formerly, the Confederate Air Force. Most particularly focused on the World War II era, the museum also displays artifacts from other military conflicts since that time. The museum is proud of the fact that it focuses on the contributions of the average combatant, leaving to others who want to tell the tale of the military’s “sure enough big shots.”

Because it is run by volunteers, the museum hours are mercurial, so it is probably best to make sure the museum is actually open before making the trip. But, even if you find it closed, there is an impressive display outside in the Viet Nam Memorial Garden. The garden displays aircraft of the Viet Nam era, along with an M60 battle tank, a couple of M114 howitzers, and a Nike missile.

The most exciting part of the museum is that the local members of the CAF maintain working World War II era aircraft which they offer for public flights. For those willing to pay the very reasonable fee, they can enjoy an adventure in the sky in a Douglas C-47, the open cockpit Fairchild PT-19, or, a North American AT-6/SNJ Texan. The CAF also holds the annual Bluebonnet Air Show every April right there on, and over, Kate Craddock Field.

One of these days soon, I’m going to take a ride in one of the squadron’s aircraft, and experience what my Dad did, when he was just a young man during World War II, training as a naval aviator over the skies of Texas before he shipped out to combat in the Pacific Theatre. That day will be a reliving of history which is both personal and full of meaning to me.

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