Yesterday I returned from Idaho after visiting for my grandmother’s services. The weekend included going through my grandmother’s belongings, sorting items to be donated, and ones that I, my mother, my aunt or my cousin wanted. The amount I ended up taking home proved to be quite a lot, and thus had to be shipped. So, I should be receiving several packages within the next few days, full of items I want to share. But in the meantime…on Sunday we were able to visit the Warhawk Air Museum.
The museum, while no Smithsonian, has a wonderful collection of air and wartime related artifacts, most coming from locals in the Nampa and Bosie areas. The museum’s main focus was WWII, but had items from WWI, Korea, and Vietnam.
Included were loads of uniforms, aerial cameras (as seen above) journals, letters and even original photographs from soldiers during WWII.
Also included in the museum was this wedding dress.
To the right reads:
At the end of World War II in the Pacific, Leonard Rutan was sent to Honshu in northern Japan. He went to the Amori Air Base, which was almost completely destroyed. There was a warehouse on the base that was full of Japanese war supplies. The Army soldiers were allowed to take anything they wanted as long as they could get the things home. Leonard took a brand new, non-issued Japanese silk parachute, a Japanese saber, and new, non-issued Japanese pilot gloves. He sent them home to his parents to keep for him until he returned upon his discharge from the Army. Then Leonard returned to the United States and Nampa, ID, he met Nancy Buehler, and after dating for a few months, he asked her to marry him. They did not have much money and were visiting with Leonard’s neighbor, Martha Miller, who was a seamstress for the C.C. Anderson store in Boise. She said she would love to make Nancy a beautiful wedding dress out of the Japanese parachute sillk. And so she did.
The couple was married on September 9, 1947. How nifty is that!? And talk about being resourceful!
But by far the highlight of the visit were the two cases dedicated to the WASPs – the Womens Airforce Service Pilots.
In the case were multiple items from one WASP who was from Idaho, including her uniform, flight jacket, coveralls, and multiple ID cards! It was a true feast for the eyes and a pleasure to see in person!
If you’re ever in Nampa, I highly recommend visiting. The donated items there really add a lot of personal stories to WWII.