Trip Start Mar 04, 2005
253Trip End Dec 31, 2014
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Wilderness Lakes, TTN
Riverside National Cemetery is the third-largest cemetery managed by the National Cemetery Administration, and since 2000 has been the most active in the system based on the number of interments. It was established in 1976 through the transfer of 740 acres from March Air Force Base, which during World War II was called the U.S. Army's Camp William G. Haan. The cemetery was dedicated and opened for burials Nov. 11, 1978. An additional 181 acres was transferred by the Air Force in 2003.
Riverside National cemetery is home of the Medal of Honor Memorial and one of four sites recognized as a National Medal of Honor Memorial Site. The Medal of Honor Memorial, whose walls feature the names of all medal recipients, was dedicated in 1999.
The Prisoner of War/Missing in Action National Memorial was designated as a national memorial by the U.S. Congress in 2004 through Public Law 108-454. The memorial was dedicated on September 16, 2005. Vietnam veteran Lewis Lee Millett, Jr., sculpted the bronze statue which depicts an American serviceman on his knees with hands bound by his captors. The statue is surrounded by black marble pillars that evoke imprisonment.
Located just across the Interstate from the cemetery is the March Air Field Museum. The Air Field first came into being back in 1917. By 1918 the Airfield contained 12 hangers, six barracks equipped for 150 men each, mess halls, a machine shop, post exchange, hospital, supply depot, an aero repair building, bachelor officer's quarters and a residence for the commanding officer.
Training contiued at March Field until 1921 when budget cuts forced the closer of the base. The base would reopen in 1926 and would be used for pilot training along with becoming the home of various tactical units. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, March Air Field would jump to a population of over 75,000 and would be the location of final training for several soon to be famous bombardment groups.
March Field would continue to serve after WWII and was the home to B-29's, B-52's as well as KC-10's ( long range re-fuelers) The Field would be de-activated in 1994 and would officially become March Air Reserve Base in 1996.
The museum contains over 60 planes on the flight line along with several displays explaining the history of the base. By far the most interesting part of our visit was talking with the docents. They are mostly retired military folks who served here and the stories they have to share are worth the price of admission!