Bandy Center’s Dalton Depot Gallery Opens
September 4, 2014
Col. Harold Babb flew a tough plane, an exhausting plane, one that wouldn’t ditch well.
The B-24s in World War II required so much energy pilots would take turns, flying for 15 minutes at a time.
Babb, a native of Dalton, flew a plane called “Bottoms Up” on several missions. It is the focus of a book “The Final Mission of Bottoms Up: A World War II Pilot’s Story,” by Dennis Okerstrom.
A diorama of the plane by model artist Tom Gaston is part of an exhibit that is now open called “Over Here and Over There: Georgia and Georgians in World War II.”
The exhibit is the first of Dalton State’s Bandy Heritage Center’s to be open in the new gallery space at the Dalton Depot Gallery, at 305 S. Depot St. in downtown.
This exhibit examines the daily lives of Georgians on the home front and battle front during the Second World War, along with the economic, industrial, and military contributions of Georgia’s industries.
Eighteen text panels explain the causes and course of the war, and detail specific contributions from particular regions and cities in the state, such as Northwest Georgia’s textile industry, Marietta’s Bell bomber plant, and Savannah’s shipyards.
“Over Here and Over There” also contains exhibit displays of World War II uniforms, military gear, non-firing reproduction weapons, personal possessions, magazines, photographs, documents, and objects, that provide a unique perspective on not only how Georgia’s citizens persevered at home but how they sacrificed and triumphed in the European and Pacific theaters of war. These articles tell the stories of the soldiers, factory workers, nurses, and other ordinary Georgians who contributed to the war effort.
The diorama of “Bottoms Up” shows the bomber being fueled and armed for a mission. A second diorama by Gaston depicts units from Fort Oglethorpe’s 6th Cavalry Regiment liberating the Belgian town of Harlange during the Battle of the Bulge, an action for which the regiment received a Presidential Unit Citation.
There are models of three naval vessels constructed by Canadian modeler Stephen Valis The cruiser USS Atlanta, liberty ship SS James Oglethorpe, and the German U-boat (submarine) U-202 all represent facets of Georgia’s role in the war. The USS Atlanta was lost in action against the Japanese in the naval Battle of Guadalcanal. The SS James Oglethorpe, named for Georgia’s founder, was the first liberty ship built in Savannah and the U-202 is similar to the German submarines that preyed on shipping along Georgia’s Atlantic coast in the early months of the war.
In addition to these ships, “Over Here and Over There” also contains models of the primary fighter planes and bombers utilized by the United States Army air forces in the European and Pacific theaters.
Debuting at Dalton State College in January 2013, “Over Here and Over There” then began an extended tour of institutions throughout Georgia. Beginning with the North Georgia History Museum in Gainesville, the exhibition has traveled to Roosevelt’s Little White House Museum in Warm Springs, the Terrell County History Museum, Fort Oglethorpe’s 6th Cavalry Museum, and Dalton State College’s Gilmer Center in Ellijay. After its stay at the Depot Gallery, the exhibition will then travel to the University of West Georgia in Carrollton.
The Bandy Heritage Center, a community outreach program of Dalton State College was founded in 2009 with the mission to preserve and celebrate the history and heritage of Northwest Georgia. The Center was established thanks to the generosity of Dalton entrepreneur and businessman Jack Bandy and named in honor of his parents, B.J. and Dicksie Bandy.
“Over Here and Over There” will be on display at the Depot Gallery through Oct. 8. The self-guided exhibition is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Anyone with questions about the exhibition or the Bandy Heritage Center, or groups requesting a private tour of the exhibition, are welcome to contact project director Brian Hilliard at email@example.com or 706-272-4452.