Pappy Boyington Field Museum
Backstory and Context
Pappy Boyington, born in Coeur d’Alene and raised in St. Maries and Tacoma, was a US Marine Corps fighter ace. He was a member of both the “Flying Tigers” of the China/Burma/India theater, and the celebrated “Black Sheep” Squadron of the Pacific theater. He was shot down over Rabaul in early 1944 and was held captive as a Japanese POW for 20 months. He was subsequently awarded the Navy Cross and Medal of Honor by President Harry Truman.
The 6,000 square foot museum, named in Boyington’s honor, offers a unique view into the lives of local veterans of World War II through the staff’s efforts to locate historic and personal artifacts at thrift stores, dank basements, and musty attics, among other places. They then display these artifacts and use them to tell the very poignant and powerful stories of their previous owners. These displays include weapons, uniforms, letters, medals, maps, and photos, many of which have been donated to the museum by veteran’s family members.
Located nearby is an eight foot bronze statue of Boyington that was erected in 2013 and further immortalizes this extraordinary man. The Coeur d’Alene Airport was renamed in his honor in 2007.