New Exhibit Showcases Iowa’s Role in World War II

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JOHNSTON, Iowa — A new exhibit is giving Iowans a close-up look at Iowa’s role in World War II.

The Iowa Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston unveiled its new World War II European theater exhibit Saturday morning. Camp Dodge visitors experienced 1,000 square feet of artifacts, weapons, interactive maps and stories from Iowa soldiers who actively served in the European theater.

“You`ll learn about airborne soldiers, experience what the defenses were like on Normandy beachhead, get to climb into a diorama of a B-17 and experience what it was like to fly a mission over Nazi Germany and also hear Iowans explain their role on a B-17 Flying Fortress as a tail gunner navigator bombardier,” said Michael Vogt, curator at the museum.

The exhibit also pays tribute to Meskwaki Code Talkers in the Iowa National Guard and the largest enrollment of female inductees in U.S. military history.

“The SPARS, the WAVES, the WACS; all of those World War II women`s military programs were all so successful that within the first eight to 12 months, they were already deploying personnel overseas. Not into combat roles but in a variety of other jobs in other ways, so the contribution of women in World War II was enormous,” said Vogt.

More than 262,000 Iowans served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II.

The exhibit is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

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