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Welcome to the archived news from the Norton Air Force Base Museum

Here you will find archived news stories about Norton Air Force Base and the Museum. It may be old news, but it's still good stuff to know.

What happened to the Cold War air raid sirens in San Bernardino, Riverside counties?

By Brian Whitehead | | The Sun
PUBLISHED: May 31, 2022 at 8:00 a.m. | UPDATED: May 31, 2022 at 10:13 a.m.
A 40-plus-foot-tall Cold War relic casts a long shadow onto the grass field at Riley Elementary School in San Bernardino.


Seeing how this particular 1950s artifact now camouflages in with the mature palm trees and street lights at Base Line and G streets, passersby can be forgiven for missing what was designed some 70 years ago to be unmissable.


An air raid siren. (Read the rest of the article)

Final Mission Unveiling of a LOCKHEED C-60 Lodestar Propeller and Celebration of Life honoring
Robert "Bob" Edwards
President of the Norton Air Force Base Museum
from 2012 to 2021
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, from 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM
  • 3:00:  Final Mission Unveiling of the LOCKHEED C-60 Lodestar Propeller

  • 3:30:  Refreshments

  • 4:00:  Remembrances - Slideshow, video tribute, & spoken memories

This memorial service is open to the public.

Please extend this invitation to friends and colleagues
who may wish to attend.

Norton Air Force Base Museum

1601 E. Third Street

San Bernardino, CA 92408

The Norton Air Force Base Museum donation to the Toys 4 Tots campaign.



On December 9th, we had a surprise guest from Stater Bros. Charities, Mr. Kevin Mackey. He presented Gail Edwards with a donation of $10,000 for the Norton AFB Museum. The funds are in memory of Bob Edwards, founding member and late President of the Board of Directors.

Vietnam veteran commemorates 50th anniversary of return home


By Hector Hernandez Jr.

Santa Monica Vietnam War veteran John Richard Medlin IV celebrated the anniversary of his homecoming at the end of his overseas service by visiting the San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) at 4 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, 50 years to the hour of his landing at the airport, then Norton Air Force Base, when returning from Vietnam.

To help commemorate Medlin’s anniversary, SBD Marketing Manager Amber Cesarez gave him a tour of the airport and Norton Air Force Base Museum President Robert Edwards gave a tour of the Norton Air Force Base Museum.

Medlin shared that part of what made the return to Norton so special was that it was the same hour, day and date as the day he returned in 1970.

Edwards shared that he was serving at Norton during that time.

When Medlin began his overseas service he left from Travis Air Force Base at 11:30 p.m. on Dec. 12, 1969, and served in the 29th Civil Affairs Company in I Corps when in Vietnam. He worked with refugee camps, helping them to improve their farming, first aid clinics and civic projects. He also assisted local governments reestablish governing officials, teachers and nurses after many were executed by the North Vietnamese.

These people, who put their lives at risk to vote and participate in local government, were heavy on Medlin’s mind as his visit was just two days prior to Election Day.

Norton Medlin.jpg
Norton wall-John Richard Medlin IV.jpg

“In two days we’re going to vote for our president of the United States of America. As we were looking through my photos, I showed people who literally put their lives on the line to vote and run for office,” Medlin said, referring to a scrapbook he brought with him.

Medlin left Vietnam early on an emergency leave to visit his mother who was in the hospital and not expected to live. (She did survive.)

He departed Da Nang on a C-141 Starlifter at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, making stops at Okinawa, Guam and Honolulu before landing at Norton at about 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1.

The journey took 46.5 hours, and Medlin said he was a zombie when he landed.

As it was an emergency leave, he did not have family there to greet him. He took a bus to Los Angeles where he met and had breakfast with his brother, who lived in Englewood. After staying the night with his brother, he flew to Atlanta so see his mother in the hospital.

Medlin shared that he had hoped to get “a real American hamburger” in Hawaii but it was 2 a.m. when he arrived and everything was closed.

Due to his exhaustion from the long trip, Medlin says he doesn’t remember much about his first days back in the United States, but he does remember feeling frustration for people’s indifference for the war and what was happening in Vietnam.

“Forty-eight hours before I was in-country. Then I was back here, a place were people were concerned with pollution of the water and the air. I remember these were the concerns, and I said, ‘What about the pollution of the body bags? What about that pollution?’ They weren’t involved; no one was trying to kill them. So, they didn’t care,” Medlin said.

Medlin spoke in great admiration of those who established the Norton Air Force Base Museum in 2013 and their efforts to protect and teach the history of Norton and the stories of those whose military service was connected to the base, including Vietnam veterans like himself.

“These people made a choice. They chose to do something that, right now is not a concern because of this corona thing, but as their generation, my generation, got off we got to decided what we really care about, our values. We’ve decided this is what we value,” Medlin said. “To start from nothing and in seven years bring all this together is incredible.”

“Over 250,000 Vietnamese military died by Ho Chi Minh and his followers after they were quote ‘liberated’ by the North Vietnamese army May of 1975, another 200,000 died in reeducation camps, then another 250,000 Vietnamese ‘boat people’ died on the South China Sea escaping from their liberators,” Medlin said. “Most people don’t care; I happen to care. These types of things are important. It’s part of who were are and the expression of what our values are.”

Medlin added that revisiting Norton was “was very important, very powerful and very moving.”

Editor's note: Norton Air Force Base Museum, 1601 E. Third St., San Bernardino is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, December 10th, 2020, the teams of the Norton AFB Museum and 63rd / 445th Norton Veterans Group have once again been able to make donations to the San Bernardino County Fire Department’s Spark of Love Toy Drive and to the San Bernardino Mary’s Mercy Center.  This is the fifth year the volunteer docents of the Museum and Vets Group have been able to donate to Mary’s Mercy Center and the eighth year to the SBC F/D toy drive.

2020-Mary’s Mercy Center.jpg

Pictured for Mary’s Mercy Center: (L-R) Mr. Mike Hein V/P & Administer, Bob Edwards NAFBM Board Pres. and Mr. Dan Flores who has replaced Mike having retired from MMC on Friday.

2020-Spark of Love Donation.jpg

Pictured for Spark of Love Toy Drive: (L-R), Tim Schons, SBC F/D Fireman, Kenny White, SBC F/D Engineer, Bob Edwards, NAFBM Board Pres, Gail Edwards, NAFBM Docent, Jane Sneddon, NAFBM Board Treasure, Jo Ann Webb, NAFBM Board Docent, and Scott Leinder, SBC F/D Captain.

Ronald McDonald House

The Norton AFB Museum (NAFBM) has from our opening day (2013), tried to support the local Ronald McDonald House (RMH) in neighboring Loma Linda CA.

In doing so, we collect and save the soda can pull tabs for the RMH to recycle.  Our first donation in 2017 was for 7,815 tabs. On July 15, 2021 we made our second donation of 9,378 tabs to this most worthy cause.


Representing the Norton AFB Museum was JoAnn Webb, NAFBM Board Member, Gail Edwards, NAFBM Docent, and Bob Edwards, NAFBM Board President. Also making a contribution was Art Lamothe Board Member, (not pictured).

Redlands Veteran's Parade

November 11, 2019, the Norton Air Force Base Museum staff and friends participated in the Redlands Veterans Day Parade providing 3rd District Supervisor, Dawn Rowe, a ride during the parade.

Santa’s Helpers

 We want to thank the San Bernardino County Fire Department and their outstanding crew of firemen “elf’s”  who once again joined in the support of the Norton AFB Museum along with the 63rd / 445th Norton Veterans Group’s toy drive for 2019.


It is through your and your teams of Santa’s Helpers efforts that make this yearly event possible.  Bringing the BIG RED SLEIGH and the other fire truck to fill up with the toys really makes it a hit for the team that worked to collect the record-setting amount of gifts for the children of greater San Bernardino.

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