On January 28, 1942, fifty-three days after the infamous attack on Pearl Harbor, the 8th Air Force was officially activated in the National Guard Armory on Bull Street in Savannah, Georgia.
In 1983, Major General Lewis E. Lyle, USAF Retired, a B-17 veteran of 70 combat missions during World War II, began planning a museum along with other veterans. The Museum would honor the men and women who helped defeat Nazi aggression by serving in or supporting the greatest air armada the world had ever seen–the 8th Air Force. These individuals pledged themselves to honor the courage and commitment of more than 350,000 members of the 8th Air Force. Of this number, 26,000 were killed in action and 28,000 became prisoners of war during World War II.
Museum planners traveled throughout the United States and Europe, visiting museums and talking with staff from these institutions. The very best elements found among these facilities were then combined to create a dramatic 90,000 square foot museum complex.
On May 14, 1996, to the applause of 5,000 8th Air Force veterans, their families, dignitaries, and supporters, the vision became a reality with the dedication of Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum in Pooler, Georgia, just west of Savannah.