First Female Air Force Fighter Pilot to Deliver Keynote at Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

Ceremony Kicks Off a Weeklong Series of Veterans Day Events

Image – Missouri Historical Society

St. Louis Mo., – Soldiers Memorial Military Museum announces Brigadier General Jeannie M. Leavitt as the keynote speaker for its Grand Reopening Ceremony on Nov. 3, 2018. Leavitt is the United States Air Force’s first female fighter pilot and the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing. Leavitt is a St. Louis native and a graduate of Bishop DuBourg High School.

Following a 2-year, $30 million renovation Soldiers Memorial reopens to the public as a state-of-the-art museum facility that honors military service members, veterans, and their families, under the operational leadership of the Missouri Historical Society.

“We are honored that the esteemed Brigadier General Jeannie M. Leavitt has agreed to be the keynote speaker for the Grand Reopening of Soldiers Memorial,” said Dr. Frances Levine, president of the Missouri Historical Society. “At Soldiers Memorial, we are committed to sharing real St. Louisians’ stories of service. General Leavitt is one of St. Louis’s own who is a shining example of the role St. Louisans have played in the larger story of American military history.”

In addition to being the keynote speaker, Leavitt is featured in the new exhibits at Soldiers Memorial.

Image – Missouri Historical Society

Leavitt entered the Air Force in 1992 after earning her bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas and her master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Stanford University. In 1993 she became the first female fighter pilot after restrictions on women flying combat missions were lifted. Leavitt is also the first woman to command a USAF combat fighter wing.

A command pilot with more than 3,000 hours, Leavitt’s operational experiences include Operations Southern Watch, Northern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Currently, Leavitt is the Commander, Air Force Recruiting Service, Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas.

The public is invited to attend Soldiers Memorial’s Grand Reopening Ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018. The day begins at 9 am with a musical arrangement honoring veterans. A formal opening ceremony will follow beginning at 10 am, with the revitalized Soldiers Memorial opening to the public at 11 am. The first 5,000 visitors on Saturday, Nov. 3, and Sunday, Nov. 4 receive commemorative pins. There will also be a USPS stamp cancellation and veteran-owned food trucks will be present on E. Chestnut Street.

A weeklong series of special events will follow the Grand Reopening Ceremony from Saturday, Nov. 3 through Monday, Nov. 12, 2018. Events include formal flag raising and lowering ceremonies and performances of All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 presented by the Mustard Seed Theatre. Visitors can walk through the Court of Honor or explore Soldiers Memorial’s new exhibits, St. Louis and Service and WWI: St. Louis and the Great War.

Visit the U.S. Air Force website for Brig. Gen. Jeannie M. Leavitt’s full biography.

Visit mohistory.org/soldiers-reopening for more information on the Grand Reopening Ceremony and opening week events.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum, located in downtown St. Louis, is operated by the Missouri Historical Society. Following a $30 million revitalization, Soldiers Memorial reopens Nov. 3, 2018, as a state-of-the-art museum that honors military service members, veterans, and their families. Exhibits offer a comprehensive look at American military history through the lens of St. Louis. Soldiers Memorial offers programs and outreach services including special exhibits; tours; theatrical and musical presentations; events and services for the military community; programs for school classes; special events; workshops; and lectures. The revitalization of Soldiers Memorial was paid for by anonymous donors to the Missouri Historical Society. Learn more: mohistory.org/memorial.

The Missouri Historical Society (MHS) makes history meaningful and accessible through its three physical locations in St. Louis: the Missouri History Museum, the Library & Research Center, and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum (opening Nov. 2018). MHS has been active in the St. Louis community since 1866. Founding members established the organization “for the purpose of saving from oblivion the early history of the city and state.” Today, MHS serves as the confluence of historical perspectives and contemporary issues. Collecting for more than 150 years, MHS houses one of the largest collections of artifacts and historical materials of any regional history institution in the United States. Missouri Historical Society Members and donors support its work of collecting, preserving, and sharing the history of this region. The Missouri History Museum and the Library & Research Center receive funding from the St. Louis City and County taxpayers through the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District. Learn more: mohistory.org

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