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Spaatz Museum Coming to Boyertown
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2018-04-18

            Driving through Boyertown, Keith Seiwell noticed the historical sign honoring Gen. Carl A. Spaatz on an island near the intersection of South Reading Avenue and

Second Street, then wondered where the museum was chronicling the U.S. Army officer's accomplishments.

            "I couldn't believe one didn't exist," he said.

            Three years later, Seiwell is working to open that museum in the borough. On Saturday, he unveiled his plan to create the General Carl A. Spaatz Regional Army Air Corps Museum by the end of the year during an hour-long presentation to approximately 30 residents at the Boyertown Community Library.

            A Facebook page he started described the museum as a living tribute to the American air forces during WWII and the home front that supported them.

            A retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel and avid military historian, Seiwell

WWII artifacts are displayed at the 

Boyertown Community Library.

said he believes Spaatz, a Boyertown native and a leading general during World War II, should be celebrated as an incredible aviation visionary.

            Dwight Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Western Europe and America's 34th president, credited Spaatz as one of the two most successful generals during the conflict. Spaatz served as the U.S. Air Force's first chief of staff from September of 1947 until April 30, 1948.

            According to Seiwell, the museum – which will initially include nine exhibits in 3,000 square feet owned by the Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles – will be interactive. He told an audience at the library that visitors will experience all aspects of air combat, including a mission briefing, flying a bomber and dealing with the corresponding targets, routes, weather and enemy attacks. He said one of the displays will feature a 360 degree screen.

The vehicle museum will decide Thursday on a proposal to lease him a portion of the building at 28 Warwick St., according to Seiwell.

            In a gear-up gallery, attendees will get to wear replicas of the equipment utilized by World War II pilots, bombardiers and waist gunners. "It's very heavy," said Seiwell, dressed in a World War II-era Army officers' uniform, known as the "pinks and greens."

            The museum will feature briefers and other role players in costume. He told the library guests that the idea is to bring history to life. Following his presentation, Seiwell described the technique as historical emersion.

            A Schwenksville resident, Seiwell, whose father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and the Air Force, hopes to raise $200,000 to set up the museum. He said he will soon need volunteers to help create the exhibit space.

            Spaatz, the only American officer to witness the surrender signing of Japan and Germany at the end of World War II, received the order from President Harry S Truman to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

            "General Spaatz was adamant that he receive the order in writing," Seiwell said.

            Spaatz, a Boyertown native who graduated from Perkiomen School, helped the Air Corps master the ability to refuel planes in mid-air. Under his command, the "Question Mark" remained aloft for 150 hours, 40 minutes and 15 seconds in early January of 1929. The feat earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross. That effort helped provide the military a huge strategic advantage, according to Seiwell.

            "General Spaatz was a modest man," Seiwell said.


 

 

 

 

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