The Rowland Freedom Center hosts a variety of different vehicles and exhibits. Nearly all our planes fly and are rotated regularly to give visitors a brand-new experience every time they visit.
The Nakajima B5N2 – Allied reporting-name ‘Kate’ – was the sole shipboard torpedo-bomber of the Japanese Navy at the start of the Pacific War. No actual Kates are still in existence, except for the few that can be found in the bottom of Truk Lagoon in the Pacific Ocean. This Kate is actually a replica, built in 1969 for the Movie Tora! Tora! Tora! by combining the airframe of a North American SNJ-4 with the tail section of a Vultee BT-13. With it’s 600 hp Pratt and Whitney R1340-AN engine, it’s performance is actually equivalent to that of an original Kate. In addition to it’s role in Tora! Tora! Tora!, this Kate has appeared in the movies The Battle of Midway, The Flying Misfits, War and Remembrance, and the TV Series, Black Sheep Squadron.
P-47D Razorback Thunderbolt
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt is a World War II-era fighter aircraft produced by the American company Republic Aviation from 1941 through 1945. It was a successful high-altitude fighter, and it also served as the foremost American fighter-bomber in the ground-attack role. Its primary armament was eight .50-caliber machine guns, and it could carry 5-inch rockets or a bomb load of 2,500 lb. When fully loaded, the P-47 weighed up to 8 tons, making it one of the heaviest fighters of the war.
1941 M2 Halftrack
The M2A1 was an armored halftrack produced and used by the United States during WWII. This variant included the improved M49 machine gun ring mount over the right-hand front seat. Three fixed pintle mounts for 0.30 machine guns were often fitted at the unit level in the field.
The Bleriot XI was a French civil tourer/ military trainer which first flew in 1909. The first example was flown by Louie Blériot to make the first flight across the Atlantic Ocean. The original Blériot aircraft are thought to be the oldest flyable aircraft in the world.
Gonzalez No. 1 Tractor Biplane
One of the first aircraft built in California, this unique example of aviation history was constructed in 1912 by three teenage boys in San Francisco only 9 years after the Wright Bros. finished theirs. Our example is the original from 1912, making it over 100 years old!
The Huey is a utility military helicopter that is still in use today! Built in 1966, our Huey was shipped to Vietnam and in 1969, it took an RPG hit to the main rotor causing it to crash in the jungle. There was one minor injury, but the chopper was rebuilt and stayed in Vietnam until the end of the war.
1945 Willy's Jeep
This jeep became the primary light-wheeled multi-role vehicle of the United States military during WWII. It was the world's first mass produced four-wheel drive car. Powered by a Incline 4 Willy's L134 "Go Devil", the vehicle could reach speeds up to 65 mph.
"In many respects, this jeep became the iconic vehicle of WWII, with an almost mythological reputation of toughness, durability, and versatility." - Charles K. Hyde
The N3N was widely used as a primary trainer in the late 30's and early 40's. Much like the Stearman, one of the main differences between them is that the N3N has ailerons on the top wing while the Stearman does not. Our N3N is on permanent display.
Medal of Honor: Orson W. Bennet
Lt. Bennet served with distinction while serving with the 102nd Colored Troops. During the Battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina, Lt. Col. Bennet ordered his brother Orson into harm's way to recover artillery pieces so they could not fall into Confederate hands. He led a small force under intense enemy fire and successfully recovered the artillery pieces without casualties. This effort led to the presentation of the Medal of Honor to Lt. Bennet on March 9, 1887, 22 years later.
Pearl Harbor Display
In honor of the Pearl Harbor attack, the Rowland Freedom Center dedicated its new Pearl Harbor display to the men and women who lost their lives during the attack. One of our featured items in the display is a authentic piece of the USS. Arizona, which was sunk during the attack in 1941.
The Ryan STA is a trainer plane that was used as a trainer during the 1940's. Our Ryan is unique and has a long history in relation to the Nut Tree Airport. Built in 1937, our Ryan used to be painted in a red, white and blue color scheme during the 70's. It was hung on the second floor of the iconic Nut Tree and used for advertising. Now it calls the RFC home and is only a stones throw from the Nut Tree.
Patton's War Room
The war room is an accurate replica of a front-line war room from the Battle of Bastogne in 1944. General Patton would travel to these war rooms and give orders in the closing days of WWII.