A new exhibit commemorating World War II pilots in the 406th Fighter Group opens on Friday, Dec. 19, in Hangar 3 at the Pima Air & Space Museum near Tucson, Arizona. The exhibit features photographs, personal items and memorabilia donated by members of the 406th Fighter Group and the 406th Fighter Group WWII Memorial Association. The exhibit was developed through a gift from Maggy Grossetta and the Grossetta family, a Tucson pioneer family, and other members of the memorial association. Mrs. Grossetta is the widow of Anthony V. (A.V.) Grossetta, the commander of the 406th Fighter Group.
The Museum has incorporated large, flat panel screens and a sound system to provide 406th film footage featuring action from gun cameras. Elements of the display’s design are reminiscent of a war era fighter base, including a P-47 Thunderbolt cockpit mock up that museum visitors can sit in.
A.V. Grossetta was a highly decorated World War II P-47 pilot who flew combat missions in both the Pacific and European Theaters. After fighting the Japanese and the weather in the Aleutian Islands, he became commander of the 406th Fighter Group. The 406th provided close ground support for General George S. Patton’s Third Army as it moved through France and Germany, and for the 101st Airborne at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. Grossetta was the only commander in the 9th Air Force to lead an air group the entire time it was in combat. In 1959, he retired as a colonel in the Air Force and returned to Tucson where he became active in community affairs. He helped to acquire the museum’s B-24 from the Indian Air Force and fly it to Tucson.
The 406th Fighter Group exhibit joins World War II exhibits and aircraft in Hangar 3, including a B-24 heavy bomber, a B-25, an A-25 and rare combat gliders, plus exhibits on the 446th and 376th bomb groups and an exhibit on aircraft nose art and markings.
For information: www.406thfightergroup.org