Off Topic – Donated Military Collection to Deland Naval Air Station Museum

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By Nathan Wertheimer

Back in July 2020, I dropped off my old military collection to the Deland Naval Air Station Museum. It needed a better home than my closet. The museum is always looking for military related donations. My main focus was the collecting anything US Navy related when I was younger.

When I dropped off my old military collection. A gentleman asked why am I donating many military artifacts. I briefly explained, I started collecting as kid until college gradation. After college, I tried to sign-up for USN Officer Candidate School. However, at the time, they had already met their quota for college graduates with a bachelor degree. Come to find out, later in the year I may have qualified and would have gone in.

Some of my military collection was inspired by TV shows and movies such as Top Gun, McHale’s Navy, The Hunt for Red October, Navy Seals, JAG, and much more. As a kid, I always wanted a piece of military history to call as my own. Each piece told a story. I was very intrigued to find out more information on each piece.

Where did I find some of the great military pieces? They found them at antique shops, eBay, yard sales, and military surplus stores. I focused on tring to find used military items that had someone’s name on it. One never knows what you’re going to find when you’re out shopping.

Now my military collection has a permanent home in Deland. The top pieces that I donated were a USN Commander in Chief – US Pacific Fleet plaque. It was unknown who was awarded this plaque. This plaque was awarded to a retiring four stars Admiral some time in the late 70s to early 80’s.

Another pride and joy was a USN USS Florida (SSBN 728), Signed by Captain Dauyll, 1983, 8×10 photo framed. This piece meant a lot to me because it had the State of Florida on it. This submarine is still active in the US fleet. Over the years it had been overhauled. Its current homeport is at Kings Bay, Georgia.

Finally, USN Company DI from Naval Training Center San Diego, CA 1926, black/white photo framed. This was one piece that once was hung in my living room. Even though the photo was fading, it still tells a story of these enlisted sailors posing for their training class photo. Today, Naval Training Center – San Diego no longer trains new enlisted sailors.

If you have never been to Deland Naval Air Station Museum then I urge you to plan a visit sometime. Now museum goers can appreciate my donation of various military relics out on display and reflect on the past. Expect to spend about 1-3 hours at this museum. There is too much to take in. It is a great learning experience for school age children.

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