Tag Archives: Cape May NAS Museum

Naval Air Station Wildwood Schedule of Events for June 2013

CAPE MAY – Naval Air Station (NAS) Wildwood Aviation Museum will begin the 2013 summer season with two free events.

The museum has its most active schedule of events to date highlighted by visits from three classic World War II bombers and a P-51 Mustang.

CaptureThe Free Historic Lecture Series will take place on June 4, 2013 at 7pm inside historic Hangar #1. Guest speaker Peter Fantacone of Mays Landing will recount his experience as a U.S. Navy sailor in Coast Guard Flotilla 4/10 during the invasion of Normandy at Omaha beach. His presentation will give you great insight of the courage and honor possessed by the men who participated in the invasion.

On June 8, the museum will hold a free community open house as part of the Runway 5k & Fun Walk activities. Guests are invited to come see all the new exhibits and renovations at the museum and cheer on the runners. There will be no admission charge from 9 a.m. – 12 noon on June 8. Recruits from USCG Training Center Cape May will be taking part in the run; Cape May Brewing Company will provide samples to participants (21 & older) and there will be a DJ playing music.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport, New Jersey. Cape May Airport was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 airmen who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945.

For more information, contact Bruce Fournier at (609) 886-8787 by email at bruce-nasw@comcast.net or visit the Hangar’s websitewww.usnasw.org

*Three Tuesdays in June – Free Historic Lecture Series @ 7PM

June 4th – Peter Fantacone
“WWII Veteran recalls Bloody Day at Normandy”, followed by Q&A
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a first-hand account detailing the Invasion of Normandy.  Mr. Peter Fantacone, 87, of Mays Landing, NJ, is a World War II veteran who participated in the invasion of Normandy during D-Day. He will recount his experience serving as a U.S. Navy sailor in Coast Guard Flotilla 4/10 aboard one of 18 landing craft infantry ships (LCIs). Twelve of the eighteen LCIs were run by all Coast Guard crews and landed troops on the infamous Omaha Beach 69 years ago.  All of the crewmembers aboard Fantacone’s LCI 492 survived D-Day; however, only three of the men are still alive to tell the story of D-Day. His presentation will give you pause as you reflect on the courage of great Americans that had fallen and the honor of those who live to tell the story.

*June 11th
Dr. Geoffrey Rassano.  *Special Lecture during American Pride Days –
11 am “Stalking the U-Boat & 1 pm “Hero of the Angry Sky”
A graduate of Tufts University and the University of North Carolina, Geoffrey L. Rossano is an instructor of history at the Salisbury School in Salisbury, CT. He is the author/editor of many books including: “Stalking the U-Boat: U.S. Naval Aviation in Europe during World War I” (winner of the 2010 Roosevelt Prize in Naval History); and his newest ”Hero of the Angry Sky” draws on the unpublished diaries, correspondence, informal memoir and other personal documents of the U.S. Navy’s only flying “ace” of World War I to tell his unique story.

June 18th- Joan Berkey
Images of America US Coast Guard Training Center at Cape May, Lecture, Book Signing, and Q&A
Joan is a historic preservation consultant and architectural historian who lives in Cape May County and has resided in southern New Jersey for more than 40 years.  Since obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Historic Preservation from Goucher College (Towson, MD), she has worked for an architectural firm specializing in historic preservation, was past executive director of Preservation New Jersey, and served on the board of the New Jersey Historic Trust.  Ms. Berkey has also worked for National Trust for Historic Preservation, the New Jersey Historic Trust, and several South Jersey counties and municipalities.  She is the author of Early Architecture of Cape May County:  The Heavy Timber Frame Tradition (Cape May County Historical and Genealogical Society, 2008), Naval Air Station Wildwood (Arcadia, 2010) and US Coast Guard Training Center at Cape May (Arcadia, 2012).  She and her husband restored the ca. 1790 Thomas (Jr.) and Zilpah Ludlam House in Dennis Township/Cape May County and their restoration received an Award of Excellence from the DEP/State Historic Preservation Office in 2010.

June 25th- Ken Kula
“Warbirds around the World”, followed by Q&A
Ken is a writer & photographer. After graduating college Ken started a 30 year Air Traffic Control (ATC) career and began to travel extensively to air shows and events around the world. Between his ATC career and his passion for aviation photography, Ken has amassed a group of stories and pictures that he’ll share with you to convey some of the historic moments that he’s been fortunate to take part in from the 1980s through today. 

June 8th – 9am – Runway 5K Run & Fun Walk
Cape May County’s newest & most unique event for 2013!  With the cooperation of the Delaware River & Bay Authority (operators of the Cape May Airport), the airport will temporarily close to air traffic to allow runners and walkers this unique opportunity to compete on the runway!

June 10th-12th – American Pride Days, featuring B-17 fly-in
In partnership with the Yankee Air Museum. B-17 walk-through tours included with regular admission! Flights on the B-17 “Yankee Lady” are available, please call Dave Wright (734-483-4030 ext. 236) to book a reservation. B-17 will be at the museum all day June 10, 11, 12! Special guest speakers include: Geoffrey Rossano (Tue. June 11, 2013

Air station looks to solve identity crisis


Air station looks to solve identity crisis

Written by Mary LinehanTuesday, April 30, 2013 10:47 am



Attention: open in a new window.LOWER TOWNSHIP – The Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum here at the Cape May Airport suffers from a little bit of an identity crisis.

“We are at the Cape May Airport, which is not in Cape May, and called Naval Air Station Wildwood, but not in Wildwood,” said Bruce Fournier, deputy director of the museum located in the World War II era hangar there. “Sometimes people who live and work here get confused about where we are.”

Even the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA), which operates the airport where the museum is located, can’t seem to pinpoint the location. According to the DRBA maintained website for the Cape May Airport, “this well-maintained 1,000-acre general aviation airport” is located in Rio Grande, New Jersey, approximately five miles from Cape May. The site does list the airport’s address as being in Erma.

Rio Grande is part of Middle Township and Erma is in Lower Township.

The air station was originally called NAS Rio Grande when it was established during World War II, but that created confusion with a large air station out of Rio Grande, Texas, so the Wildwood moniker was attached.

“You know this happens to us all the time,” Fournier said. “We’ve got a lot to offer and have trouble getting our name on anything.”

Fournier and his marketing committee hosted some 70 local accommodation business owners and operators at a hospitality night last Wednesday, April 17 to help get the word out about the air station, said Fournier.

“The event went well, for the first year,” he said. “Next year, I think we will hold it just after Memorial Day, so that more of the Wildwood businesses can be represented.”

The two hour event informed local motel, hotel and innkeepers what the NAS Wildwood Museum has to offer for visitors, and told them how to point them there.

“It’s about branding, and being part of the overall Cape May County brand,” said Fournier. Wine at the event was provided by Jessie Creek Winery, of Cape May Court House, and snacks by Cape May Smokehouse, with locations in North Cape May and on the Washington Street Mall in Cape May.

“It seemed like a great way to get the word out,” said Ken Hutchinson, owner of the Cape May Smokehouse. “I guess one of the staffers at the museum had been at an event we catered and approached us about this.”

Hutchinson just opened the Cape May location on Easter, but has operated out of North Cape May for some five years.

“We also do a lot of catering. We serve traditional Southern style barbeque – ribs, chicken, brisket,” he said.

Fournier said that the museum had over 30,000 visitors last year, not including special events such as the annual “American Pride” weekend.

“Once we get people here, they are thrilled,” he said. “So having locals at local businesses pointing the way and really knowing what we have to offer really increases foot traffic. The hospitality event seemed like a low cost way to increase those referrals.”

Fournier said that they offer discounts with nearby businesses, such as the Flight Deck restaurant and Cape May Brewing Co, both located at the airport, as well as the Forgotten Warriors Museum just across the street.

The Forgotten Warriors museum hosts a large collection of memorabilia, most donated by local veterans, from the Korean and Vietnam wars.

“It all links up to make the county a great destination,” said Fournier.

The museum recently announced its plans for an inaugural 5K run, as well as its annual Aviation Career Education Summer Academy held July 8-12, for students aged 12-17, and the Explorers Summer Academy held July15-19, for students aged 9-11.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located inside Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. The site was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The mu