What it is
The only Museum in the world dedicated to United States Marine Corps (USMC) aviation, with the largest and most complete collection of vintage aircraft flown by Marine pilots in the world. The Museum tells the proud story of USMC Aviation and the part it has played in defending America. Aircraft and Artifact Displays:
- 31 aircraft currently on display, including “Lady Ace”, the helicopter that evacuated the U.S. ambassador from the rooftop of the embassy in Saigon on April 30, 1975
- 8 galleries of artifacts from World War I to present day including exhibits on Marines in Space, Medal of Honor Recipients, Navajo Code Talkers and Military Working Dogs.
- One of the world’s finest collections of Marine Aviation patches
- On-site gift shop offering Marine Corps and aviation-themed books, models, patches, clothing and gifts.
The Museum maintains and restores vintage aircraft used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) through work performed by employees and volunteers.
- Current restoration projects include an iconic World War II-era Douglass Dauntless SBD bomber.
- Restoration work has been done for the USS Midway Museum and Air and Space Museum in San Diego.
What happens there
The Museum is staffed almost entirely by veterans, many of whom served as pilots, air crew, or ground crew in past conflicts and wars. They give tours, share spellbinding stories, and provide eyewitness accounts and insights on history and personal experiences. These veterans as a group donate more than 19,000 hours of time annually to share their deep knowledge with visitors.
“Open Cockpit Days” – visitors can sit in the cockpits of fighter jets and in the cargo area of a helicopter.
“Picnic with Pilots” – Pilots who flew aircraft on display talk about their experiences and share pictures.
The Museum was established in 1989 on MCAS El Toro in Orange County, CA. When Base Realignment closed El Toro in 1999, a group of retired Marines from San Diego, led by Major Generals Bob Butcher and Frank Lang, spearheaded the move of the aircraft and artifacts to MCAS Miramar.
Open 9:00 am to 3:30 pm Tuesday through Sunday and admission is free. In the last 12 months, 28,000 visitors from around the world came to the Museum.
Where it is
On MCAS-Miramar in San Diego, CA. To get there, take either the 805 or 15 freeway to Miramar Road.
Use the sentry-free Museum Gate on Miramar Rd between Camino Ruiz and Cabot Drive.
From 805, take Miramar Road exit. Go east until you pass Cabot Drive (a street on the left).
Just after Cabot Drive, you’ll see the Museum Gate on the RIGHT (look for the flags).
From 15, take Miramar Road exit. Go west until you pass Camino Ruiz (a street on the right).
Just after Camino Ruiz, you’ll see the Museum Gate on the LEFT (look for the flags).