Blue Star Museum Program

Blue Star Museums


What is the Blue Star Museum Program?

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to the nation’s active duty military personnel including National Guard and Reserve and their families from Memorial Day, May 27, through Labor Day, September 2, 2013.

Which museums are participating?

More than 2,000 (and counting) museums in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and American Samoa are participating in Blue Star Museums. These include children’s museums, fine art museums, history and science museums, and nature centers.

Who is eligible for free museum admission through Blue Star Museums?

The free admission program is available to any bearer of a Geneva Convention common access card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID card (dependent ID), or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card, which includes active duty U.S. military – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, as well as members of the National Guard and Reserve, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NOAA Commissioned Corps – and up to five family members.

How many military personnel and/or family members are allowed in for free per visit?

The military ID holder plus up to five family members. The military ID holder can either be active duty service member or other dependent family member with the appropriate ID card. The active duty member does not have to be present for family members to use the program.

How do you define a family member?

A family member of active duty military may include a spouse or child, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc.

What if my spouse is deployed? Can my family and I still participate?

Yes, spouses of deployed military are eligible for Blue Star Museums. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, for active duty military family members.

What if my spouse is not deployed, but cannot come to the museum with the family. Can my family and I still participate?

Yes, your family can still participate, as the active duty member does not have to be present to use the program. Just bring your DD Form 1173 ID Card, or DD Form 1173-1 ID Card, for active duty military family members.

How many military personnel and/or family members are allowed in for free per visit?

The military ID holder plus up to five family members.

What if my child is under the age of 10 and doesn’t yet have a military ID?

Children under the age of 10 without military ID are welcome to attend with their parents who either hold a Geneva Convention Common Access Card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID Card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID Card.

Does the Blue Star Museums program include admission for veterans and retirees? For unmarried partners? For parents with a child currently serving on active duty, or for those who have lost a child on active duty?

Admission for these individuals is not included in the scope of this program, unless they are the bearer of a Geneva Convention Common Access Card (CAC), a DD Form 1173 ID Card, or a DD Form 1173-1 ID card.

Blue Star Museums, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission to families with a member serving during this time of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, especially focusing on the approximately 1 million children who have had at least one parent deployed. This program offers these families a chance to visit museums this summer when many will have limited resources and limited time to be together.

Will I receive free entry to special, fee-based exhibits?

Some special or limited-time museum exhibits may not be included in this free admission program. For questions on particular exhibits or museums, please contact the museum directly.

Is there a limit on the number of Blue Star Museums I can visit this summer?

No, there is no limit on the number of participating museums that eligible parties can visit.

If a museum already offers free admission, can it still participate in Blue Star Museums?

Museums with free admission are also welcome to join the Blue Star Museums list on the NEA website.

How can museums join the Blue Star Museums program?

Museums that wish to participate in Blue Star Museums may contact, or Wendy Clark at 202-682-5451.

Who are the national partners on Blue Star Museums?

Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America. Blue Star Families is a national, nonprofit network of military families from all ranks and services, including guard and reserve, with a mission to support, connect and empower military families. To learn more about Blue Star Families, please visit  The effort to recruit museums has involved  partnerships with the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Art Museum Directors, the Association of Children’s Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.


Open Cockpit Days

Adopt A plane








If you come out to see us during the summer months, you can sit in the cockpit and feel like a real pilot! Take your little kids — and big kids — to enjoy a free day out in the sun.

2014 Summer Schedule

  • May 31
  • June 1, 14/15, 28/29
  • July 12/13, 26/27
  • August 9/10, 23/24
  • September 6/7

Picnic with a Pilot

During select Open Cockpit Days, the museum will feature a USMC pilot to share their stories. Bring some lunch or a snack, and grab a seat to hear some amazing stories from pilots who served in Vietnam, Korean War and even World War II. Click here for more.

Foundation Navigates Toward Bright Future

We are still working toward our fundraising goals to help us continue operating under austere budgets, but our team is growing and we are looking forward to an excellent 2013.

We have had had excellent success throughout the past six months on the launch of a new website – same name, new look – and we hope it is a much more functional design that you will enjoy. The website is now live! Please visit us at and let us know what you think.

Our Board of Directors has been busy working to find grants that are available in the San Diego area to help fund our operating costs while the Department of Defense continues to see cuts for museums across the country. The Board has already gotten positive feedback on our first attempt at the San Diego Arts and Culture Organizational Support Program grant. A special thanks to Pat Labauch, John Ferguson, Fred Allega, Jay Bibler, MajGen (Ret.) Bob Butcher for spending extra hours on this grant, that we hope will be a source of revenue for years to come.

Events this year will be better than they’ve ever been – with a new format for our black tie gala and a new approach to our marketing and promotions. You may receive emails from us on a monthly basis, please don’t send us to your spam! These emails are chock full of stories and upcoming event information you won’t want to miss.

We are always looking for new and creative ways to promote the Museum and Foundation through mass media, social media and community outreach. In fact, these priorities are central to my efforts as the Public Affairs Officer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or suggestion as to how we can “raise our profile” among all of our constituent groups.

Semper Fi,

Kalen Arreola

Public Affairs

1 JULY 2012

Did you know about Tyrone Power?

Legendary film and stage actor Tyrone Power was widely known as a “matinee idol” during a career that spanned more than 25 years.  He starred in numerous films including The Long Grey Line, The Mark Of Zorro, The Sun Also Rises and A Yank In The RAF.  Power’s performance as an accused murderer in the motion picture, Witness for the Prosecution,is considered by many cinema historians to be his finest. Powers

Most people are familiar with Tyrone Power the movie star, but did you know that he was also an accomplished pilot?  Power learned to fly in 1938 during the filming of the classic western Jesse James.  He was also a Marine Corps aviator and served our country during and after World War II.  Indeed, flying was a major part of Power’s life.

Power, like many of his Hollywood contemporaries, was caught up in the post Pearl Harbor patriotic fever sweeping the nation by early 1942.  When the call to arms came, he promptly enlisted in the Marine Corps.  Power’s initial goal was to become a Marine Corps glider pilot.  However, because of his age (28 at the time) and lack of a college education, he did not qualify for the Naval aviator training program as a cadet.  As such, Power enlisted as a private and attended boot camp at MCRD San Diego.[1]

After completing boot camp, Power went through Officer Candidate at Quantico, and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in June 1943.  Because he was a seasoned pilot already, Power was assigned to an accelerated flight training program at MCAS Corpus Christi, Texas and trained as a multiengine transport pilot.  He earned his Naval Aviator wings and was promoted to First Lieutenant April 1944.

After some additional training at the Flight Instructor Instrument School, Power was assigned to VMR-352 (“Raiders”), based at Cherry Point, North Carolina.  In this assignment, Lieutenant Power flew the Curtiss R5C-Commando.[2]  He remained with VMR-352 from October 1944 until mid-January 1945.

In January 1945, Lieutenant Power was assigned to VMR-353, and was shipped out to combat zones in the Pacific.   The VMR-353 squadron was briefly based at Kwajalein before moving on to Saipan in March 1945.  Power flew numerous missions while assigned to VMR-353.  He took part in the air supply and evacuation of wounded Marines from Iwo Jima and Okinawa, and did see some combat, especially on Okinawa.  Power remained with VMR-353 until hostilities with Japan ended in September 1945.

Lieutenant Power was ordered off deployment in late November 1945, and returned stateside.  He was released from active duty by the Marine Corps in January 1946.  Power returned to his film career and made 22 more movies after World War II ended.

Power’s personal decorations for his service during World War II include the American Campaign Medal, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars and the World War II Victory Medal.

Although he was released from active duty and resumed his film career, Tyrone Power remained in the Marine Corps Reserve.  He was promoted to Captain in May 1951.  However, he was not called back to active service during the Korean War.  Power remained in the Marine Corps Reserve until his death in November 1958.  At the time of his passing, Tyrone Power was a Major.  He was buried with full military honors, including a full Marine Corps honor guard from MCAS El Toro.


[1] At the request of 20th Century Fox, Power was allowed to finish production on the film Crash Dive before reporting for active duty.  This movie was fairly typical of early World War II films that were generally geared to promoting support for the war effort on the home front.


[2] The R5C Commando is more commonly known as the Curtiss-Wright C-46.  This aircraft was used extensively in the Pacific Theatre by both Naval and Marine Corps squadrons.  It was also used, to a much lesser extent, by US Army Air Forces is final days of the war in Europe.

FLHF In the News

Building a Foundation for the Next 100 Years

By Kalen Arreola
PR & Marketing

This is my first year with the Flying Leatherneck Historical Foundation, and it has already been a whirlwind of events, great people, and dedicated volunteers. Thanks to everyone for your support and advice as I ramp up our public relations and community outreach efforts.

As you well know, this year marks the Centennial of Marine Corps Aviation; all of our events this year celebrate our story from the last century, while focusing on the next 100 years of preservation and study.

Steve “Smitty” Smith, our adventurous curator and his crew, manned displays at the San Diego County Fair, the Gillespie Air Show and the Oceanside Armed Forces Day Operation Appreciation. He said during the San Diego County Fair alone, he averaged 100 to 150 visitors per day.

We had a film crew, led by a new volunteer named Herb Proske, who conducted a series of oral histories, and more will be filmed in the future. Our goal is to catalogue as many of our Marine Aviators as we can so that their stories are not lost. Airplanes are wonderful pieces of machinery, but those who fly them are the most important asset a museum can have, and we hope to record more and more of these aviator’s stories as we move into the next century.

While our museum crew was up at the San Diego Fair, the foundation hosted two very important events, the third annual Semper Fi Ride and the annual Black Tie Gala. The gala is one of the year’s most highly anticipated events, and nearly 200 guests gathered at the Westgate Hotel in San Diego to celebrate the 100-year milestone. This year, the foundation was honored to host our longtime supporters, Mr. and Mrs. T. Boone Pickens, as well as Marine Corps heroes from every conflict since World War II. We had a great turnout, and many of our guests commented that the evening was one of the best foundation events they have attended in years. The gala committee worked tirelessly to ensure the event was perfect, and it was a memorable evening of laughs and camaraderie.

During the gala event, we presented the 2012 Irene Ferguson Marine Wife Recognition Award recipient, Mrs. Sasha Lightfoot.  She was noted for having pulled together the families of the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469, who lost six Marines their spouses in a horrific crash in February. The unit was in Yuma, Ariz. training for an upcoming deployment. Her husband, LtCol Stephen Lightfoot, is the commanding officer and is currently in Afghanistan. The annual award is presented at the gala, and selected from a pool of applicants

On June 16, nearly 100 riders came out to support the third annual Semper Fi Ride and post-ride “poker walk.” Both of our generous donors – the Fun Bike Center and Bangin’ Burgers – support this event, and really do all of the hard work! When the foundation staff arrived on Saturday, most of the hard work was already finished, riders were out on the course, and we had a record amount of donations for the day. Many of the riders didn’t know about it, but said they planned on returning next year. The new event website for this is

We encourage blogs, articles, photos and any other material we can use to post to our blog page. If you are interested in becoming a blogger, contact me at or 858-525-2498.



Annual Black Tie Gala: Save the Date

Save the date for our biggest event of the year. Each year, we have a wonderful time downtown at the beautiful Westgate Hotel in the gaslamp district of San Diego. It is our most elegant event, our black-tie fundraising gala.

Each year, we announce the “Marine Wife Award” recipient, we have a live and silent auction, a relaxing cocktail and plenty of surprises — you really never know who you will meet!

REGISTER NOW [this will link to cvent event registration page]



Annual Mike Philbin Golf Tournament: September 2013


The exact date of our tournament will be announced soon!  Every year, we have an amazing time at the Del Mar Country Club. They offer us a catered breakfast and lunch so we can raise money for our important restoration projects, education programs and more.

Come join us — you may just end up golfing with a Medal of Honor Recipient!

Our Special Guests in 2012 Included:

Jay Vargas, Medal of Honor Recipient
Bob Modrzejewski, Medal of Honor Recipient
Gene Littler, World Golf Hall of Famer

Proudly hosted by Del Mar Country Club

6001 Clubhouse Drive, Rancho Santa Fe, California 92091