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World War II museum sents grand opening in Granite Falls, Minn.

The Fagen Fighters World War II Museum will host its grand opening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29.

There is no admission fee, and visitors are welcome to tour the museum at their leisure.

No formal ceremony is planned, but First Officer Jeffrey Skiles of the "Miracle on the Hudson'' fame is among the guests expected to attend the grand opening and share a few words.

There will also be fly-overs and, in the afternoon, World War II-era music by New London's Mill Pond Jazz Combo and three high school-age singers will perform the songs of the Andrew Sisters.

Visitors are welcome to wear World War II-era clothing.

The museum is open each day of the week except Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors are welcome to spend as much time as they wish touring.

The Fagen Fighters World War II Museum is one of a very few that can claim to have an active fleet of aircraft and ground vehicles.

With very few exceptions, all of the aircraft and vehicles on display are authentic, World War II craft that were restored.

One exception is a Minnesota-built glider that is a copy of the "flying coffins" used to carry troops, artillery and vehicles behind German lines during the D-Day invasion.

Many of aircraft and vehicles on display are storied, and range from the Willys Jeep used by General Omar Bradley on D-Day to one of the most significant, surviving P-51 Mustangs in the world.

Here is what you can find in the four buildings comprising the museum:

Gallery Hangar

* Art collection

* Built in Minnesota CG-4A Combat Glider

* Trainer aircraft: PT-19, PT-26, Ercoupe

* M3 Troop Carrier (Half Track)

* M35 Troop Carrier (Deuce and a Half)

*n Cushman Model 54 Scooter

Main Hangar

* Utah Beach sculpture by Fred Hoppe Jr.

* P-40 "Desert Shark"

* P-51D Mustang "Sweet Revenge"

* P-51D Mustang "Twilight Tear"

* P-38 Lightning "Ruff Stuff"

* BT-13 Trainer

* General Omar Bradley's D-Day Jeep

* Harley Davidson WLA Escort Motorcycle

* WC54 Ambulance from D-Day

Bud Anderson's 357th Fighter Group

* Bud Anderson bronze statue and plaque

* Authentic recreation of the 357th FG Briefing Quonset hut

Control Tower

* Authentic World War II radio and teletype equipment

* World War II typewriter, rotary telephone

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

(320) 214-4335