HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Officials at the Hill Aerospace Museum are looking to tell the stories of local military heroes.
Last month, the first of what officials hope will be many “Local Heroes” exhibits was unveiled at the museum, according to a base press release.
The new exhibit features personal items from Brig. Gen. Leon C. Packer, a longtime member of the Air Force and World War II bomber pilot. He died in Brigham City in 1985, at age 68.
The vacuum sealed, glass exhibit case features Packer’s WWII bomber flight suit and mess dress, various military decorations and medals, photographs and a timeline of his military service.
The items were donated to the museum by Packer’s family. Packer’s son Bob Packer contacted the museum, according Robb Alexander, executive director for Aerospace Heritage Foundation of Utah.
“It is the donations from generous people and the community that really make the extra stuff happen here,” Alexander said in the release. “Whether it comes from other foundations, corporations, or individual people that give to the foundation.”
According to the release, Packer flew a B-24 with the 8th Air Force in Europe from August 1941 to November 1944, subsequently being promoted to colonel. After the war, he served on the Air Staff at the Pentagon until July 1947. He continued his Air Force service in Utah and was eventually promoted to brigadier general in May 1967.
Aaron Clark, director for the Hill Aerospace Museum, said Packer destroyed a German U-boat in the Gulf of Mexico, participated in D-Day, supported the mission to liberate Paris and was an instrumental of the team that helped create an independent Air Force. He also served as the assistant to the depot commander at Hill Air Force Base.
“General Packer’s story as an airmen clearly demonstrates why we created this new exhibit,” Clark said in the release.
Officials are creating a process for Utahns to submit nominations of other Utah airmen heroes to be featured at the museum. The submission process will be made available by the end of the year on the museum’s website, www.aerospaceutah.org., according to the release.
The museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It’s located at 7961 Wardleigh Road, just east of the 5600 South freeway exit in Roy. Admission is free.