By: Friedrich Seiltgen
In our latest installment of Vacation Ideas, Gunpowderhighlights the city of Savannah, Georgia! The city is beautiful, and with spring just around the corner, it’s time to start planning trips for 2021!
National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force
The 8th Air force was established at Langley Field, Virginia in January 1942 as the VII Bomber Command. Ten days later, it was reassigned to Savannah Air Base, Georgia. An advanced detachment was sent ahead to England in preparation for units arriving. By August 1942, the VIII Bomber command was flying regular combat missions. The unit’s first commander was Colonel Frank Armstrong. Although Armstrong was the commander, he was not yet qualified on the B-17 and sat in the co-pilot seat of B-17 “Butcher Shop” on his first mission. Next to him in the left seat was Paul Warfield Tibbets. Yes, his middle name was “Warfield.” The name might sound familiar, as Tibbets piloted the “Enola Gay,” dropping the first atomic bomb, “Little Boy,” on Hiroshima. In February 1944, it became the Eighth Army Air Force based at RAF Daws Hill in High Wycombe, England. Today’s Eighth Air Force is based at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana.
The B-17 Flying Fortress, “City of Savannah,” one of 5,000 Aircraft processed through Hunter Field, Georgia is the museum’s current restoration project. The museum’s goal is to restore it to its full combat configuration, making it the “finest static display B-17 in the world.”
Webb Military Museum
Museum owner Gary Webb says the inspiration for his museum comes from his parents. His father was a career Air Force officer and WWII & Vietnam veteran. His mother was born in London, and Gary thinks her story growing up in the middle of WWII was what got him into history. Until he was 11 years old, Gary thought everyone’s mother lived in a bomb shelter and carried a gas mask to school! Gary has amassed an outstanding collection of military artifacts on a more personal level. Many of the displays contain the named grouping of service members highlighting their military service.
The Webb Military Museum features artifacts from the Civil War to present -- original uniforms and helmets ranging from a WWI German “Pickelhaube” to Desert Storm “Fritz“ helmets. One of my favorites is a uniform worn by none other than Bob Hope during his USO tours.
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Pulaski is located between Savannah and Tybee Island. The fort was ordered constructed by President James Madison after the war of 1812. Madison wanted a coastal defense system of forts to protect the US from foreign invaders. The fort is named after Casimir Pulaski, who fought under the command of George Washington! The walls were 11 feet thick and thought to be impenetrable.
As events continued to unfold prior to the Civil War, and South Carolina seceded from the Union, Georgia Gov. Joseph Brown ordered the fort be taken for the State of Georgia. In 1860, a unit of 110 men traveled down river from Savannah, and Fort Pulaski was taken in the name of Georgia.
The fort would come under siege by Union forces from Tybee Island. The island had been abandoned, and Union forces commenced building batteries there. On the morning of April 10th, 1862, Union forces requested the Confederate units to surrender; they refused. The siege began, and some 30 hours later, Confederate forces surrendered. The battle was a first in that rifled cannon fire from the Union forces 36 Parrott Guns and James Rifled Cannons were used. The Union concentrated fire on one of the fort’s corner walls until it was breached!
Battlefield Memorial Park
Visit the spot where 8,000 troops fought during the Revolutionary War! On October 9, 1779, troops from three armies fought during the Battle of Savannah. The battle was for the control of the city and was the second deadliest of the war – 2,500 British troops were determined to keep Savannah under control of the king. They fought against 5,500 American and French troops. Troops from Haiti, Germany, Poland, and Scotland took part in the battle. When the smoke cleared, approximately 800 troops were killed or injured, and the British kept control of the city.
Folks, it’s time to get out of the house and see America! The City of Savannah has something to offer everyone in the family! Parks, museums, the Golden Isles, and “Savannah’s Beach,” aka Tybee Island, is just a few minutes away!
That’s all for now folks! Please keep sending in your questions, tips, and article ideas. And as always – “Let’s be careful out there.”
Friedrich Seiltgen is a retired Master Police Officer with 20 years of service with the Orlando Police Department. He conducts training in Lone Wolf Terrorism, Firearms, First Aid, Active Shooter Response, and Law Enforcement Vehicle Operations in Florida. His writing has appeared in The Counter Terrorist Magazine, American Thinker, Homeland Security Today, and The Journal of Counterterrorism & Homeland Security International. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo from https://www.mightyeighth.org/b-17-exhibit/