Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum

Space Shuttle Discovery

Space Shuttle Discovery


Steven F. Udar-Hazy Center

If you haven’t visited the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum, aka the “airplane museum” that opened in 2003 — you need to make the trek to Chantilly, Virginia for a visit.  But — be prepared for a lot of walking, particularly if you want to see it all from a variety of angles and levels.

Of course, I couldn’t help but wonder, who in the heck is Steven F. Udar-Hazy who has two huge hangars with his name on them, housing all this cool stuff? Hazy was born in 1946 in Budapest, Hungary and came to the US in 1958 from Soviet occupied Hungary.  He graduated with a bachelors degree in Arts/Science at the University of California in Los Angeles.   A self-made billionaire, worth a cool $3.7 billion.  Per Forbes, he is the current CEO and Chairman of Air Lease Corp.  Forbes also calls him, “the godfather of the airplane leasing industry and has built two billion-dollar companies over the span of four decades.”   Steven Udar-Hazy gave a $66M grant to the Smithsonian Institution to build the Center — so I guess that’s why his name is on the hangars.


SR-71 Blackbird

Before heading to visit the Center, one might not be overly excited unless you really like planes — but just wait until you walk inside and see all the cool stuff on display.    Who would not be enamored with the Space Shuttle Discovery… poised perfectly, directly in front of the American Flag draped at the back of the hanger? Or the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, the world’s fastest plane, who flew from London to New York, 3,508 miles, in a mere 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds!   The spy plane, viewable as soon as you walk in to the museum, is quite a sight and only one of 32 planes built.   You’ll find the F-14, from the movie “Top Gun”  in the Center… and as I walked by all I could think of was:   “I feel the need, the need for speed”.    Admittedly the M*A*S*H helicopter was pretty cool and if I wasn’t thinking about “the need for speed,”  “Suicide is Painless,” the theme song from “M*A*S*H, rang in my head.

The morale to the story, visit the Center for a lot of neat stuff…

Top Gun

Top Gun




The National Museum of the Marine Corps (in B&W)

“A Monument to Honor, Courage & Commitment

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Quantico, VA

National Museum of the Marine Corps – Quantico, VA

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a tribute to the United States Marines.   The Museum is located adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.    The Museum opened 10 November 2006 and is clearly with a worth visit.

All of the pictures were taken in the museum and in black and white.

Parris Island, SC where “We Make Marines”


Parris Island, SC where “We Make Marines”

Our Holiday Road Trip took us to Parris Island, SC, the Marine Recruit Depot for the Eastern Region.   My dad is a retired Marine who had the “pleasure” of going through Parris Island in 1942.   He has nothing nice to say about Parris Island and has very vivid memories of the sandfleas, marching in 6 inches of sand, living in tents, and the then standard issue silver bucket.   Frankly, I thought Parris Island was rather lovely — and  saw no sandfleas, sand, nor tents 🙂

However, while there, we visited the museum  which confirmed the existence of sandfleas and tents:

Parris Island sandfleas

Parris Island sandfleas

Captured at the Parris Island Museum

Tents as seen at the Parris Island Museum

Captured at the Parris Island Museum

Captured at the Parris Island Museum

Further, as a young kid I loved loved loved Gomer Pyle, USMC which aired on CBS from 1964 to 1969 staring Jim Nabors and Frank Sutton.   Although, the show was in fictional Camp Henderson, California vice Parris Island, South Carolina — I’ll be darn if these quonset huts don’t look like the very same where we could see Private Pyle and Gunnery Sergeant Carter running in and out of!

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