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People | Aircraft & Airships | Gen. Mitchell Field | Space


Benes DisplayMajor General Thomas A. Benes
As a young boy, visits to General Mitchell Field by Tom Benes sparked his interest in aviation, which led to a career as a combat fighter pilot and Marine Corps leader.

A graduate of Milwaukee Custer High School and UW-Madison, Tom Benes was commissioned in the U. S. Marine Corps through the Platoon Leaders Class program in May, 1974 and was awarded his Naval Aviator wings in March, 1976. He further sharpened his flying skills as a graduate of the U. S. Navy Fighter Weapons School, TOPGUN, and later as a weapons and tactics instructor. He maintained his ties to Wisconsin while flying the F-4 Phantom II jet fighter, and later the F/A-18 Hornet Strike Fighter, accumulating 250 carrier arrested landings and commanding various fighter squadrons and a Marine air group.

Colonel Benes piloted his final F/A-18 flight in May, 2000. He had been selected for brigadier general and was subsequently promoted to major general in 2006. His assignments as a general officer included:

  • Chief of Staff Naval Strike Forces Southern Europe
  • Commander Fleet Marine Forces Europe
  •  President of the Marine Corps University
  •  Chief of Staff, Combined Force Land Component, Iraq and Afghanistan
  •  Director of Strategy and Plans for the U. S. Marine Corps
  •  Director of Expeditionary Warfare for the Chief of Naval Operations

Major General Tom Benes retired from the U. S. Marine Corps in 2009, after 35 years of honorable service. Tom Benes passed away September 30, 2014.

Major Dick Bong
A native of Poplar Wisconsin, and America's leading fighter ace, Dick Bong is colorfully represented in the Gallery. Photos, actual newspapers and a Lockheed P-38 scale model are displayed. Also included is a 1945 photo of Major Bong's wife, Marge, and replicas of the medals Bong was awarded.
The Home of the Brave - Wisconsin's Hometown Heroes of World War II
Lt. Col. Paul B. Dowd, Sgt. Robert H. Tyborski

Charles A. Lindbergh
Lindbergh visited the Milwaukee airport in August 1927, the same year of his historic non-stop flight across the Atlantic. The display accompanies a Spirit of St. Louis model, hanging just outside the entrance to the Gallery. This exhibit includes a woven Lindbergh tapestry, photos and information on Lindbergh's 1927 visit to Milwaukee.

Captain James A. Lovell Captain James A. Lovell
Lovell grew up in Milwaukee and went on to become an Astronaut in the Gemini and Apollo programs. The Gallery exhibits its Lovell artifacts in the adjacent Lovell Conference Room and in a public display case. Within the conference room is an acrylic portrait presented to Lovell by the City of Milwaukee on "Jim Lovell Day," February 23, 1966. Also displayed outside the conference room are a Wisconsin state flag carried around the moon on Apollo 8, a crew flashlight used on Apollo 8, a flight checklist from Apollo 13, and Gemini and Apollo spacecraft models.

Brigadier General Lester Maitland
Maitland, a famous Army endurance flier, race pilot and World War II air commander, was born in Milwaukee. The Gallery displays are included in the Lester Maitland Conference Room as well as in a public display. Artifacts include items from Maitland's career as commander of the 386th Bomb Group, model of his World War II B-26 Marauder, Fokker Tri Motor, Curtis R-6 racer and various photos.

General William "Billy" Mitchell
Mitchell grew up in Milwaukee and went on to become an prominent airpower advocate and pioneer. On display are medals representing the various awards he received. Also on display is a portrait of Mitchell that was once displayed in the original Mitchell Airport terminal. Also exhibited are his ceremonial sword, model of his DH-4 "Osprey" aircraft, and various photos about his career. Click here for more information on Mitchell.
Captain Lance P. Sijan
In 1976 Captain Sijan, a Milwaukee native, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam. Several items are on display, including an Air Force Medal of Honor and a scale model of the F-4C Phantom II in which Captain Sijan flew his last mission.


Aircraft & Airships

Astronautics Corp Display  Astronautics Corporation of America
Headquartered in Milwaukee, Astronautics is a manufacturer of equipment, electronics and systems for air, space, land, and sea applications.

Caravelle Cockpit
This exact 1:5 scale model of a Caravelle SUD SE-210 is a must see. Caravelles were used by United Airlines from 1961-1970 for flights between Newark, Cleveland and Milwaukee.

Hamilton Metalplane Display

Marston Mat
Displayed is a sample of the pierced steel planking (also known as the Marston Mat) which was used during World War II to establish useable surfaces for airfields. It was manufactured by the Milcor Steel Co. of Milwaukee.

Displayed on the north wall are several antique propellers, with the largest and oldest dating back to World War I. This propeller was manufactured by the Matthews Brothers Woodworking Co. in Milwaukee, under the direction of Thomas Hamilton. Two wooden and one metal Hamilton propeller are also displayed. This exhibit also includes a Maynard-di Cesare propeller, manufactured by the Maynard Steel Co. in the 1930s.

World War II Model Aircraft
Originally prepared to commemorate the end of World War II, this exhibit displays numerous 1/72nd scale models of aircraft from most countries participating in the war.

Airliner Models
Numerous 1/72nd scale airliner models spanning the 1940's, 50's, 60's and 70's are displayed.

Graf Zeppelin II Model and The First Airliners Display
This 22 foot, 1/36th scale model suspended from the Gallery ceiling is one of a kind. Sister to the Hindenberg, the Graf Zeppelin II was one of the first airliners. Below the Zeppelin is a display of various Hindenberg and airship artifacts.

Northwest Airlines 757 Scale Model
Suspended next to the Graf Zeppelin, this 1/36th scale model represents the progress in commercial aviation since the airship era.


Gen. Mitchell Field

440th Airlift Wing
A look at the history of this unit from WWII through its final days in Milwaukee.

Midwest Airlines
Created in partnership with Midwest Airlines, it's a look at Milwaukee's hometown airline.

Wisconsin Air National Guard 50th Anniversary
The Bong Chapter of the IPMS built various scale plastic aircraft models of representative aircraft flown by Milwaukee's 128th Air Refueling Wing. This exhibit includes a KC-135R, F-51D, T-6G, F-89C, F-89D, TB-25K, O-47, F-5G, F-80 and KC-97L. Also included are various historical photos of the aircraft and memorabilia such as unit patches and medals.

Lawson Airliner Model and Display
This display commemorates the pioneer effort to establish a national airline system, which took place in Milwaukee between 1919-1921. Displayed are photos and a scale model of the Lawson C-2 airliner, built in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Aviation Paintings
Located on the east wall, this series of paintings shows the history of the types of commercial aircraft that have flown into Milwaukee. Included are the Hamilton Metalplane, Stinson SB-1, Loening Amphibian, Ford Trimotor, Boeing 247, Lockheed 10, Douglas DC-3, and the Lockheed 049 Constellation.

Airport Landing Register
This large book was used to record all aircraft operations at the airport during World War II. Documentation includes aircraft types, dates of movements and registration numbers.

Layton Avenue Air Terminal
This scale model shows the Milwaukee terminal as it appeared in 1941. Located on the ramp in front of the terminal are two scale DC-3's in the markings of Northwest Airlines and Pennsylvania Central Airlines.

Airport Beacon
The beacon atop the entry to the Gallery is believed by the Federal Aviation Administration to be that which first operated at Mitchell Field on November 1, 1926. It was used to guide airmail flights between Chicago and the Twin Cities.

1911 Curtis Pusher
This flyable aircraft was placed on display in 1988 and is suspended from the Airport's ceiling near the Gallery entrance. It represents one of the first aircraft flown in the state of Wisconsin

Ozark DC-3 Model
Hanging within the Gallery, this large wooden model has been restored in the markings of Ozark Airlines DC-3 N130D.



Milwaukee In Space
This exhibit tells the story behind a laser light experiment sponsored by Milwaukee's St. Mary's Hospital and launched aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia, January 12, 1986.