1st Major Acquisition – The B-24
It was during 1969, that the Foundation made its first major acquisition from outside of Tucson. That year the government of the Republic of India retired the last operational Consolidated B-24 Liberators in the world. One of the Foundation’s leaders, Lt. Colonel Rhodes Arnold wrote to the Chief of the Indian Air Staff in New Delhi, asking that one of the rare bombers be donated to the museum. Much to everyone’s surprise the Indian government agreed, as long as the Foundation paid all the costs of delivery. On March 22, 1969 after several months of gathering sponsors and fund raising, a volunteer U.S. Air Force crew arrived in India to pick up the Liberator. After stops in the Middle East, Europe, Canada, and back at the factory in Fort Worth, Texas where it had been built, the B-24 arrived in Tucson on April 27, 1969, thirty-one days and 11,000 miles after leaving India. Dignitaries from the U.S. Air Force, the Indian government and Pima County, led by aviation pioneer General Jimmy Doolittle were on hand to greet the plane and congratulate the crew on their achievement.