By Sgt. David Bickel | 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing
As an organization, the Marine Corps culture is based on rigid tradition with a rich historical path paved by the Marines of bygone eras. Part of that legacy is Marine aviation, preserved by a hidden gem containing historically significant equipment, aircraft and stories, located just outside of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
The Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum came into existence after a similar aviation museum at MCAS El Toro closed after the air station was decommissioned in 1999.
“Gen. Jay Hubbard, who started the museum at MCAS El Toro, called me up and said that they were going to close MCAS El Toro and move the museum to MCAS Miramar,” said retired Maj. Gen. Bobby Butcher, a Vietnam veteran and museum chairman of the board. “I joined his board of directors in 1997 at El Toro, formed a steering committee at MCAS Miramar in early 1999, and on April 1, 1999, I started the museum foundation down here.”