Museum Is A Great Treasure Of Merced County
By JOHN M. DERBY
Times Founding Publisher
September 20, 2018
If one were to add up the hundreds of thousands
of man (woman) hours devoted to making the Castle Air Museum
one of the great treasures of Merced County, the numbers
would be a mile long.
Those local people are still putting in more hours as this
editorial piece goes to press.
The result is one of the best locations for military air
history in the United States and it is right here in our
own backyard. No one person, no one hundred people, not
even a list of thousands would make up the roll call of
those who have volunteered time and effort to make the museum
come to life.
Occasionally, when there is an Open Cockpit Day, like there
was the first week of this month, the work can be appreciated
and hundreds turn out to see all the planes and some of
the people who actually flew them.
Not all are military planes, like the one which served the
president of the United States as Air Force One. Some of
the planes like the British Vulcan Bomber were not even
used by the United States, but were built for use in the
Air Force of a foreign government.
Even more airplanes are being restored right now and remain
out of sight in the hangers. They include the Supersonic
Bomber, The Hustler and the Warning Star, which just came
to Castle Air Museum last year.
Helping to bring everything together is the Chief Executive
Officer Joe Pruzzo who is addicted to aircraft and the history
which they have made in the life of mankind. He has the
undivided support of a Board of Volunteer Directors.
Castle is best known for the B-52 bomber which flew from
the base and continued to be used even after the base was
closed in 1995. Even the KC-135 made its name at Castle
for the air-to-air fueling which was so important in the
Cold War and even the Gulf War. These planes and the men
who flew them made their mark in history.
Each year it seems that volunteers from Castle Air Museum
find one-of-a-kind airplanes located in the far ends of
the United States, and somehow manage to get the where-with-all
to transport that plane back to Castle for restoration.
There isn’t room in this editorial to salute all the
people for the great works they have done. When they are
long gone, their efforts to maintain the air history of
this great nation will remain.
Youngsters will be able to see firsthand what these planes
were like, instead of getting a canned version over the
It is time we honored these men and women who gave Merced
County this legacy. Their efforts will long be remembered.
Every year, the Castle Air Museum holds several fundraisers
to help defray the cost of upkeep and also the restoration
of new planes which have been located and brought to the
museum. Please join the other members of the county and
the community at these events and honor all the great work
which has been done at the Castle Air Museum.