Cape May Airport, NJ: Last weekend the NASCAR Hall of Fame inducted a new Honoree, WWII Veteran Robert “Red” Byron, NASCARs first champion. Prior to his professional racing days, Mr. Byron was in the Army Air Corps., serving as a crewman on a B-24 Liberator during World War II. Following a summer visit to Naval Air Station Wildwood (NASW) Aviation Museum, NASCAR Hall of Fame Curator, Dr. Daniel J. Simone, asked NASW Aviation Museum to help explain Mr. Byron’s heroic past. The Cape May County, NJ Aviation Museum loaned NASCAR Hall of Fame a sextant. Sextants are sighting mechanisms used for measuring angular distance between objects and especially for taking altitudes for navigation in aircraft like the iconic “war birds.”
Unfortunately during his time in the service, Mr. Byron was wounded in action which resulted in the loss of his left leg. This didn’t stop Red from chasing his dreams. A custom prosthetic was made to give him the ability to use the gas pedal, clutch and brake just as the other drivers would with both feet. Although his racing career only lasted a few years, he was NASCAR’s first champion. NASW Aviation Museum was elated to be able to help the NASCAR Hall of Fame with this exhibit detailing the life of Mr. Byron. The Aviation Museum is visited by thousands of veterans annually representing every military branch. The museum’s staff all agree, it is an honor to help tell the story of these heroes.
Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is a non-profit aviation museum housed in an original wooden hangar from World War II, Historic Hangar #1. NASW Foundation’s mission is to restore and rehabilitate the hangar to its former glory, educate the public and honor the 42 men who perished while training here. The museum is open Monday through Friday 9am until 4pm through the winter. Beginning April 1st, the museum will be open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm. For more information visit www.usnasw.org 609-886-8787