Camp Shelby displays its Dutch Fliers exhibit
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Camp Shelby officially displayed its Dutch Fliers exhibit Friday, which highlights the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School that was created in 1942 in Jackson.
The school trained 800 pilots to go on and fight in World War II.
Erik Looman, Netherlands Embassy Military Assistant Naval Attache said, “I think what’s especially important about this expanded exhibit is the personal stories it tells. It’s not only about the military life at the school. But, it’s also about the personal accomplishments of my countrymen that were trained there and went on to fight in the war. And I think that it’s especially important that we commemorate all the collective history of the U.S. and the Netherlands, not only in WWII, but in all the operations that we’ve been in since.”
The exhibit included artifacts that belonged to Fred Streuding, who was a Dutch Flier. His daughter, Sunny Forte donated his artifacts to the museum, and was happy to see her father’s name on display for everyone to see.
“I don’t know how to say it. I don’t really know. But he was a wonderful person, and he was a kind person, and he would do anything for anyone ever. And I loved my daddy very much,” said Forte.
Lois Lange also enjoyed seeing the exhibit.
Her late husband, Harry was a Dutch Flier as well.
“I think you couldn’t have asked for a better group of soldiers. The greatest in my opinion. I think Jackson’s heart was broken when they all had to leave, and so was mine of course. But, it makes me feel good because I feel like I was a part of it, even in such a small way being a wife,” said Lange.
A Dutch sword was also donated at the ceremony.
“When you’re commissioned as an officer, you get that sword, and you keep it with you your entire career. So this is really a token of a long-standing service for your country. And I think it’s very special that this was handed over to the museum,” said Looman.
There will be a commemoration and memorial ceremony for the Dutch Fliers Saturday at 10 a.m. at Cedar Lawn Cemetery in Jackson.