Visiting Warbird Park, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: commemorating aviation heritage

Flag of South Carolina
Flag of South Carolina | Source
Warbird Park, Myrtle Beach
Warbird Park, Myrtle Beach | Source
Shooting Stars stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB in 1956
Shooting Stars stationed at Myrtle Beach AFB in 1956 | Source
Map location of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Map location of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina | Source

Remembering aviators also

This recently dedicated Warbird Park, near S. King's Highway, at Myrtle Beach, in Horry County, is both an educational means of commemorating aviation heritage and also a way of remembering the aviators who flew in the airplane types displayed. A Wall of Honor and informational displays supplement the preserved airframes which are mounted in the Park for display.

This park is sometimes also referred to as Warrior Park.

Airplanes on display

On the display are:

A North American F-100D Super Sabre

An LTV A-7D Corsair II

A Fairchild-Republic A-10A Thunderbolt II

These airplane types were all used at the former Myrtle Beach AFB while attached to the 354th Tactical Fighter Wing. This Wing saw service in the Cold War, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War, and elsewhere.

Some history

Myrtle Beach was associated over a long period with military aviation. A US Air Force Base was present for a number of decades; as well as the airplane types now displayed at the Warbird Park, other types stationed there included Shooting Stars.

Earlier, during World War 2, a facility known as Myrtle Beach Army Air Field, later developed by the Air Force, existed for training and for coastal patrols searching for German submarines. A bombing and gunnery range was created as part of the site. This was later expanded as a rocket testing range. Airplane types deployed at Myrtle Beach at the Army Air Field included the Douglas SBD Dauntless , the Bell P-39 Airacobra , and the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt .

The Army Air Field during World War 2 also served as a training facility for aviators of other Allied nations such as The Netherlands. The Royal Netherlands Military Flying School had a presence at Myrtle Beach.

Hard to believe, maybe, but when the US Air Force sought in the 1950s to expand the base area to include a local beach for the recreation of Air Force personnel, local politicians sought to prevent this in case some of the personnel were African American; these distasteful efforts by local politicians were, however, unsuccessful.

Local leaders subsequently proved very supportive of the Air Force presence in Myrtle Beach, which became a very significant and longstanding contributor to the local community. When the base finally closed on economic grounds in 1993, there was widespread, local disappointment.

Today, the City of Myrtle Beach maintains Warbird Park in honour of the courage of those of the U S Air Force who served at the former Myrtle Beach AFB, and their families.

Also worth visiting

Myrtle Beach is referred to as the Golf Capital of the World. Its Tanger Malls offer outstanding shopping opportunities. The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors' Bureau organizes Canadian-American Days as a strong gesture of welcome to the very large numbers of Canadians who visit or reside in the Myrtle Beach area.

Conway (distance: 25 kilometres), picturesque city on the Waccamaw River, along which cruises may be taken.

Georgetown (distance: 61 kilometres) is a small, port city with a number of buildings of distinction, included the Prince George Winyah (Episcopal) Church , dating from c. 1750. The nearby Hobcaw Barony is the former home of Bernard S. Baruch , financier and adviser to Presidents.

Murrells Inlet (distance: 27.4 kilometres) is a fishing village known as 'The Seafood Capital of South Carolina'. Nearby are Brookfields Gardens , opened in 1932 and Atalaya Castle , built 1931, both of which may be visited.

...

How to get there: Myrtle Beach Airport is served by Continental, Delta and US Airways and other airlines from a number of US destinations. Continental flies from New York Newark to Myrtle Beach. Ontarian travellers may find it convenient to use DirectAir which flies from Niagara Falls International Airport to Myrtle Beach Airport, where car rental is available. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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Comments 5 comments

artlader profile image

artlader 5 years ago from Aiken, South Carolina, USA

Well, I think I will check this out the next time I am in Myrtle Beach.

Thank you for the tip. :-)


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

I'm planning a trip this spring - will check it out. I remember staying there shortly after 9/11 and I didn't know there was an AFB nearby. The pilots were doing some kind of training and were coming too close to the hotel for my comfort! I was relieved to find out it was Air Force training, because I had no idea. We went to surfside beach last stay - just south of myrtle. We may go there again. it was nice too and the grand strand was near enough!


MJFenn profile image

MJFenn 5 years ago Author

artlader & kimh039:

There is indeed so much to see in the Myrtle Beach area; this park will certainly be of interest to aviation buffs.

Thank-you for your comments.


tom 3 years ago

stationed there in the 80's as a jet engine mechanic on the a10 warhogs great job great location and base went back 29 years later they treated me like i never left nice job on warbird park


MJFenn profile image

MJFenn 3 years ago Author

tom: Yes, it's a good, small collection of airframes there, and the civilian airport at Myrtle Beach is just over the field from it. Thank-you for your comment.

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