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16 hours ago

Collings Foundation

Flgiht coordinator Demi just sent this great shot of the folks visiting the tour in Plymouth, MA. ...

19 hours ago

Collings Foundation

Today, September 18th, 2019, the American Heritage Museum honors our dear friend Clarence Smoyer, WWII Veteran and Tank Ace, as he is awarded the Bronze Star for his heroic actions in March 1945 in Cologne, Germany. The surprise ceremony came as Smoyer visited the World War II Memorial as part of a number of visits planned around the new book "Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II” by Adam Makos

Smoyer was hailed as “the hero of Cologne.” His tank commander told him that he and the rest of his crew would receive Bronze Star medals for their heroism in combat.

However, a few days after the battle, U.S. military police saw Smoyer standing near German kids who wanted chewing gum, Makos said. The MPs cited him for breaking an Army rule that forbade U.S. soldiers from talking with Germans.

“They pulled up, and they busted him. They said, ‘We caught you talking to these German kids, fraternizing,’ and he lost the medal over a stick of gum.”

His award of the Bronze Star today, after 74 years, was witnessed by hundreds of visitors and friends, including American Heritage Museum Executive Director Rob Collings who took these photos. Smoyer was wearing the tanker jacket given to him by AHM volunteers from the US Army Brotherhood of Tankers.

Congratulations sir! We thank you!

Read more at: www.witf.org/2019/09/18/96-year-old-army-veteran-from-allentown-awarded-bronze-star-in-surprise-c...
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This is Hellen Kaplan at 102 years young. Hellen was escorted today by her daughter Judy Stohn-White, and granddaughter Emily White to the Wings of Freedom Tour, at Beverly Massachusetts. Hellen’s Husband was Sergeant Isidore Stohn, who served as was mechanic on the B17 Flying Fortress, from 1941-1945. Sergeant Stohn enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Ms. Helen brought with her a news article reporting that he husband was part of a crew that swapped out an engine on a B17 in the record time of 4hrs 56min. The average time for swapping an engine was between 8-9 hours. Ms. Hellen’s contribution to the war effort was working for the McKlosky Company that built self propelled ferroconcrete ships, used during the Landing at Normandy. Pictured bellow is Ms. Helen holding an inert 50 caliber bullet. Ms. Helen said she remembered coming into work and finding a 50 caliber shell on her desk, that had been fashioned into a letter opener. ...

Say hi to 95 year young, WWII Veteran, Sergeant, Frank Clocher, of the 85 Airdrome Squadron. Between 1942-1946, Frank served as a B24 Liberator and B17 Flying Fortress mechanic, mostly in the South Pacific and the Philippines. Frank spent a lot of time doing engine swaps. Frank stated; “they would throw the damaged engines in a ditch an cover them with bulldozers.” When asked what the general consensus of the B24, Frank stated; “the B24 was the greatest plane ever made.” Frank relayed a particularly disturbing moment was while waiting in line for a haircut, the mail guy asked if he could cut in line. Frank replied sure, he was in no hurry! While that guy was sitting in the chair a bullet struck him in the head, killing him instantly! Frank said; they never found the source of that shot. While returning from overseas Frank claims the best thing he ever saw, was the Statue of Liberty all lit up at night, from the air. A special thank to Dick Jirard who escorted Frank to the Wings of Freedom Tour in Beverly, Massachusetts. Dick plays in a band where Frank can still be seen dancing with his wife. ...

KT Budde-Jones spotted 2nd Lieutenant (Lt) Robert “Bob” Garabedian, along with his adorable “First Wife,”😂 of 68 years, Ms Marilyn, who came to the 2019 “Wings of Freedom Tour” at the Groton- New London stop, with two of their 12 children, #1 Steven and #9 Thomas, in order experience a P40, similar to the one Lt. Garabedian flew in the Army Air Corps.
Lt. Garabedian is currently 95 years of age, enlisting at 18 years of age in March, 1943. During enlistment training, Lt. Garabedian tested results qualified him to be a pilot, bombardier, and navigator! Lt. Garabedian chose be a pilot, citing his inspiration was the flyers in the Battle of Britain. Jokingly, Lt. Garabedian indicated that the highest scores were chosen for navigator, the lowest score were for pilots. Lt. Garabedian recalls he lost 14 friends during training; four, in the AT6, one, in the P40, and the remaining in the P47. Lt. Garabedian was part of a group that was chosen to train for a top secret invasion of Japan, however; the war ended and Lt. Garabedian discharged in September 1945! During the conclusion of my time talking with Lt. Garabedian, he simply grinned and stated; due to an intelligence leak, Japan got word he was coming and surrendered. We laughed and Ms Marilyn stated “yeah, none of us bought it either.”

Bob and Marilyn met at a church dance October 28, 1949. Bob said she was a looker as Marilyn told him to hush. They were married and have; 12 children, 25 grandchildren and 26 great grandchildren. The Members of the Wings of Freedom Tour were privileged and honored to have experienced your visit and wish both of you well. Thank you for your service sir.
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Think back to the first time you laid your hands on history…

Was it touching the aircraft that your father fought in during World War II? Was it seeing the tank you only read about in books come alive right before your eyes as it rolled past? Was it placing your hand on the controls of the P-51 Mustang and rolling it just like you have done in your dreams since you were a kid?

Some experiences change our lives. You are one of tens of thousands each year who have been touched by the living history programs of the Collings Foundation and the new American Heritage Museum. Wouldn’t you like to see these kinds of experiences continue well into the future? Further, we invite you to consider becoming an even more important part of our mission now, as a contributor.

There are many ways to make a lasting impact. Your generosity could have an immediate effect with an annual fund gift, or a donor advised fund (DAF) distribution. Please also consider a longer-term legacy, making the Collings Foundation and the American Heritage Museum an important part of your planned giving strategy. We would love to discuss how we can work together to connect your special passion with a program that preserves your legacy as part of our mission.

Your donation helps bring history back to America… and preserve it for future generations.
One of the most important missions undertaken by the Collings Foundation is the identification and repatriation of important historic artifacts back to the United States. Starting with the B-24 Liberator in 1984, continuing with the America’s last flying F-4 Phantom in 1999, and just this year adding the PBY-5A Catalina and L-4 “Rosie the Rocketer,” we are bringing critical American history home.

The new American Heritage Museum has transformed what was the Jacques M. Littlefield Collection, the largest private tank and military vehicle collection in the world, into a world-class public history museum that provides enormous educational opportunity. This mission could not be accomplished without our generous donors.

We don’t just dream, we do.
The Collings Foundation doesn’t just come up with dreams and ideas, we have a proven track record of accomplishment. Whether it is transforming the world’s largest private tank collection into a world-class museum, operating the longest-running and most extensive national warbird tour, or carrying out massive restoration projects of rare and historic artifacts from around the globe… we do it. Donors know that their contributions get enormous traction and impact when they give to the Collings Foundation.

There are many ways you can help, and we offer many options to add value to your donation. As a 501c3 Non-Profit Educational Foundation, all contributions may be eligible for corporate matching funds to stretch your contribution farther.

Give to the Collings Foundation and American Heritage Museum Annual Fund

Do you want to help the most pressing needs at the Collings Foundation and American Heritage Museum? Consider a donation to our Annual Fund. All donations to the Annual Fund help support year-end operations, maintenance, restorations, and development of our educational program planning for the next year.
Learn more about giving to the Collings Foundation Annual Fund at this link.

Become a Member of the Collings Foundation and the American Heritage Museum

Membership to the Collings Foundation is a fantastic way to contribute each year and become an active part of the Collings Foundation, American Heritage Museum, and the Wings of Freedom Tour. Membership is available for both individuals and families and includes great benefits such as free admission, discounts, and volunteer opportunities.
Click here to learn more about membership and purchase a membership online…

Become a Plane Sponsor or a member of the American Heritage Museum Founders Society

There is no better way to support your special aircraft, vehicle, or museum than to become a Plane Sponsor or a member of the American Heritage Museum Founders Society. Your donation goes right to the program that you are most dedicated to, and your directed support helps us fund new restoration or expansion. Corporate sponsorship is welcomed and strongly encouraged.
Click here to learn more about these programs and donate online…

Give to our educational field trip endowment…

An American Association of School Administrators survey found that 50% of schools did not plan field trips for the coming year. Budgetary crunches are partially to blame. We intend to develop an endowment to assist with admissions, and provide bus funding so that the American Heritage Museum can bring much needed history and STEM content to students.
Click to donate online to the educational field trip endowment…

How to Contribute

Contributions may be made through cash, check or money order, or Mastercard or Visa. Donations of appreciated stock are also accepted.

Monetary donations are essential and our greatest need. There are a variety of ways to support the Collings Foundation. Estate provisions, IRA payments, foundation grants and stock are always appreciated. Over ninety-five cents of every dollar donated goes directly to our programs including operations, maintenance, restoration and endowment for the future.

Employer Gift Matches
Did you know that many companies will match a portion of the charitable contributions by employees each year? Grow your gift and impact through an employer match – search for your company and matching gift instructions using our search engine at the link below.
Learn more about and search for employer matches at this link.

Corporate Sponsorship
Corporate Sponsors are crucial to the operation of the Collings Foundation. Their donations keep our aircraft flying and well equipped to operate for years to come.

Contact Us Today

Please contact our Development Office with any questions you may have about giving and sponsorship to help further our mission of living history for future generations!

Contact: Ryan Keough
Director of Donor Relations and Development
978-562-9182 office – rkeough@collingsfoundation.org

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