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Minter Field Air Museum holding open house to commemorate and celebrate

Minter Field Renovation
Posted at 3:37 PM, Feb 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-09 18:37:02-05
  • On Saturday, the Minter Field Air Museum will hold an open house to commemorate the namesake of the sub-station and celebrate the latest changes to the landmark. Minter Field played a vital role in pilot training during World War II, and the base was named after First Lieutenant Hugh C. Minter, a Bakersfield resident and World War I veteran, who died in a mid-air collision over March Field in the 1930s.
  • The museum that helps document Kern County's history in World War II has seen somewhat of a re-model over the last year, thanks in part to generous monetary and labor donations from various businesses, non-profits, and Kern County residents.
  • Saturday's event will serve as an opportunity to not only pay homage to Minter's contribution to the military but also celebrate the various changes to the museum, like the new paint job, new roof, new World War I exhibit, and the start of an Airplane Hangar fund. The event will also feature a book signing and Honor Flight Kern County representatives. Saturday's open house runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

On February 7, 1942, the land right where I'm standing was dedicated in honor of Hugh C. Minter, a World War One pilot who died over March Field in a mid-air collision in the 1930s. I'm Sam Hoyle, your Shafter neighborhood reporter here at the Minter Field Air Museum. They are holding an event on Saturday to commemorate Minter, but if you've done the math on that, that's 82 years. Which seems like an odd number of years to hold a commemorative event. Well, Saturday's event isn't just to commemorate Minter, but also to celebrate what's happened here at the museum over the last year.

“I was hoping that I might be able to speak with Ron would like to support the museum. And I thought maybe we could, we could we could get along with that,” said a voicemail left for Ron Pierce on the Air Museum's answering machine.

In previous stories, we’ve talked about how things have been changing with the museum. That snippet of a voicemail you heard was the initial contact for a $40,000 donation to the museum by the Johnson Family Fund to cover the paint renovation, and since then donations of time and money have helped renovate the roof and a storage room into a World War I exhibit.

Museum Board Chair and Docent, Ron Pierce said he and all of the other volunteers are thankful for the help, and they’re excited to continue to preserve Kern County history.

“I believe it’s important to all of Kern County to be proud of what they gave to World War II and to keep it alive so the next generation can see,” said Pierce.

Ahead of this story, 23ABC spoke with another person in the military history space, but a bit more informal. Steve Davis held nearly every position one could at the Wasco Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6742, until its closure in August of 2023. For him, the importance of a space like the VFW or Minter Field's Air Museum is to be able to remember and share their experiences.

“The Museum is important because, it may not be profitable, but it’s a place for veterans to go and share their story,” said Davis.

The Minter Field Air Museum’s commemorative and celebratory event kicks off on Saturday, February 10th at 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m.


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