By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
Just across the Texas border in Santa Teresa, New Mexico, resides one of the largest collections of historic military and civilian aircraft, classic automobiles, and aviation and automotive artifacts in the Southwest. The War Eagles Air Museum, located at the Doña Ana County Airport west of El Paso, may not attract much attention with its location near non-descript warehouses and eight miles from Interstate 10, but it is certainly worth seeking out for a visit.
Many of the 36 World War II, Korean War and Vietnam-era aircraft on display are of great historical significance. Inside the huge exhibit hanger (an enclosed area as big as a football field), visitors take a trip back in time as they stroll among the professionally restored American, British, German and Soviet aircraft. Many of the aircraft are in flyable condition.
Among the museum’s collection include:
- P-51 Mustang,
- P-38 Lightning,
- P-40 Warhawk,
- F-4U-4 Corsair,
- DC-3 transport,
- F-86 Sabre,
- T-33 Silver Star and,
The museum also has an impressive collection of 49 American, British, German, Japanese and Italian automobiles from days gone by, and several U.S. military vehicles, many of which are drivable. In addition to marveling at the beautiful condition and historical importance of the aircraft and automobiles on display, visitors can spend hours examining our hundreds of other artifacts—engines, instruments, weapons, photographs, documents, newspaper clippings, uniforms, scale models and more.
The museum started as a dream of West Texas engineer and oilman John T. MacGuire (1920-2011) and his wife Betty. Pilots themselves, John and Betty began to amass an impressive private collection of warbirds in the 1980s. As the collection grew, the MacGuires looked for a place to build their museum to display their collection to the public. Several cities vied for the honor of hosting what became War Eagles Air Museum, but the MacGuires decided to build it near their home in El Paso. The museum opened its doors in 1989.
The Museum’s mission is to educate visitors about the history and technology of the aircraft and automobiles on display. To For more information about the War Eagles Air Museum, please visit their website at http://www.war-eagles-air-museum.com/ or find them on Facebook.