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One Man’s Vision — book review about a man and a museum

17 October 2011

One Man’s Vision — book review about a man and a museum

The man is Allan McElhiney, the museum is NAS Fort Lauderdale Museum and the book is One Man’s Vision: the story of the founder of the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association (NASFLHA), John & Minerva Bloom, 2010, ISBN 978-0-557-56814-7, 114 pp.

One Man’s Vision: the story of the founder of the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association (NASFLHA) by John & Minerva Bloom

One Man’s Vision: the story of the founder of the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historical Association (NASFLHA) by John & Minerva Bloom

Allan is remarkable, an elder man doing the work of establishing a museum with the dedication and zeal of a younger man.

The book begins with his service in the Navy aboard the patrol frigate USS Asheville (PG 21) and segues – sometimes roughly – through the WW II service of the naval air station (NAS) in Fort Lauderdale and onwards to the creation of the museum (soon to open).

The elder President Bush’s flight training at this NAS is described and there are photos of what his billet would have looked like, as it will be a display in the museum. Bush’s later service in the Pacific Theater of Operations is also addressed as is the TBM Avenger aircraft.

TBMs were the aircraft flown by infamous Flight 19 out of NAS Fort Lauderdale in December 1945. The flight and memorial at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport are described as is the move of the historic building housing the museum.

The museum’s centerpiece – to me – is the large mural named, “On Final Approach” by famed artist Bob Jenny. Bob is gone now but was one of Allan’s close friends. Suitably, there is a chapter dedicated to this mural as well as a bit about Bob Jenny. Among the signatures on the mural is that of former President George H. Bush.

This is a small, intimate and valuable museum – the only military museum in the area. This book encapsulates the history of the man behind the museum as well as the bio of the museum, itself.

Posts on the museum can be found by pasting the name into the search window and selecting ENTER.

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