War aviation museum draws regional interest

Harry's Military Museum

LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - New additions to a Sulphur man's military museum are bringing visitors from as far away as Texas. Harry Tanner's personal museum on military memorabilia has grown quite a bit since the last time we visited.

"I've got over 400 autographs from fighter aces," said Tanner. "An ace was a pilot that shot down 5 planes or more. That's where I got my start was writing to fighter aces. Then from there I went to bomber crews and then on through Korea and some Vietnam war."

Dennis Walden came from Houston to see information on his dad’s bomber group in WWII.

“People need to understand what getting into a war actually costs in terms of people and resources,” said Walden. “Too often, we minimize the human cost of war time. We just talk about it in dollars. The people are more important than the money in my estimation.”

Gerrit Lawrence is an Air Force veteran of Desert Storm and recently donated a Vietnam-era field telephone to Harry’s collection.

“Anybody who is a military collector of items that wants to share, like Harry, it’s not about the things but the people behind the things,” said Lawrence. “It’s about the people that sacrificed so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have.”

“To have somewhere they’ll be preserved and people can see them is the main thing,” said Tanner. “That’s what I always say, I’m preserving the memory of these airmen that you see here on the wall, pictures and stuff.”

Harry loves to show his collection to veterans, students and military enthusiasts. For more information, contact Tanner at 337-302-6239.

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