2020 Annual Report
Letter from our founder
I am always honored and humbled when expressing my thoughts about the Warhawk Air Museum and what it has become over the last 33 years. What I have always loved about the museum is the neutrality of it…the feeling of peace I always have when I walk through its door and feel the daily worries or anxieties of life simply wash off my back. It’s here where American veterans and their families have entrusted us to preserve their stories of sacrifice and pride in their service. The only thing that matters is the job we love to do: preserve, teach, and honor the men, women, and families who have served our country.
The museum opened its doors in the spring of 1989, and from its beginning at the Caldwell airport, it began to fill the needs of veterans and their families to have a hallowed place to preserve their individual histories. The early days brought collections and artifacts from WWII that quickly filled up the first 20,000 sq. ft. wing, which opened in Nampa in 2001. These collections and stories came out of attics, chests, storage units and even barns to finally be preserved with the dignity they deserved. Airplanes from the era provide excitement for their power and awe at their beauty while the individual collections and stories provide the human element of the home front.
In 2006, we dedicated the second 20,000 sq. ft. wing to the Cold War era, the advent of jet technology and the importance of the helicopter in battle. That time of war was starkly different in its relationship to America, and we have continued to fill within its walls the personal collections and stories from men and women and families who served then. The emotional experience grew stronger as personal stories were attached to the aircraft and equipment in addition to the vast memorabilia in personal cabinets. Visitors often express how much being here means to them.
As we look forward to the future we have no doubt that the museum’s path should include the experiences of veterans and their families who lived through the Post 9/11 era. We are resolved that someday their stories and histories will also be preserved with dignity and honor and that they rightly join the human story of this great nation as you can see at the museum today.
Educating our world about the cost of freedom…
Sue Paul, Founder
Letter from our Executive Director
I’m in awe of four things about our culture here at the Warhawk: the vitality and impact of our wonderful volunteer program; the rare, personal and local touch of the visitor experience; how we honor veterans both past and present; and the museum’s tremendous potential to contribute meaningfully to our community, which includes educating our youth about the enduring importance of service and sacrifice in America today.
It’s great being here in Nampa, and we’re proud that we can do our part to make a difference. Of note, in 2019 we added $2.77 million in economic impact to Canyon and Ada counties. Looking forward, we’re in the early stages of planning an expansion to honor our most recent generation of veterans who served after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Our vision? Build one of the most impactful educational institutions of our time where the price of freedom and liberty is recognized and where we honor those who paid for it.
This is our first attempt at an annual report and the information shown above is only the beginning of our 2020 COVID story. I’m delighted to tell you that the museum has never been financially healthier.
2020 was a year of unmatched generosity. We received a record $235,826 in donations from 276 unique donors. As you might expect, nearly all our revenue streams struggled, but your donations helped make up the difference and today our liquidity position is strong. Looking forward, there are many ways to support the Warhawk—including making a legacy contribution to our endowment.
I hope you will enjoy Tom Schornak’s story below that we first published last April as part of our Profiles in Courage series. Tom’s is but one among 1,720 veterans stories preserved here—many of whom went off to a foreign land in service to our country.
We’re proud to announce this summer’s trial-run of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program geared towards 4th-7th graders. They will learn about advances in technology through hands-on exploration of the 100 years of history in our collection. I expect this program will further cement our reputation as an outstanding educational resource for parents, teachers, and students of the Treasure Valley.
The Warhawk is in really great shape and we look forward to your next visit.
Honoring those who paid its price.
Patrick J. Kilroy, Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.)
Statement of Finances
Months cash reserve:
Our strongest financial position, ever.
Up from 85.4% in 2019
2020 Grants: $120,657
It was the 10th of September 1963, four days before his 27th birthday, and Lieutenant Thomas Schornak’s day was not going well. It had started with a fairly routine escort mission for a pair of Marine MEDEVAC helicopters. Having finished that, control gave him and his wingman, Frank Gorski, a close air support mission near the village of Ca Mau, Vietnam. His first run on the target had been a bust; a circuit breaker had popped and the can of napalm he was trying to introduce to the jungle had stayed connected to his aircraft.
Peeved, Tom had jinked his T-28 away from the stream of bullets coming at him and reset the breaker before going in for another run. The second try was much more successful, with the can deploying and defoliating its prescribed part of the Mekong Delta. Satisfied, Tom circled back around to drop his second canister. He came in fast and low enough to make eye contact with the Viet Cong soldiers as they levelled their rifles at him. A second dropped napalm can, a second satisfying boom, and he was streaking back towards the sky. Naturally, it was about this time that everything started to go decidedly sideways.
Tom had only just had time to register an acrid smell filling the cockpit of the plane when Frank’s voice called across the radio, “Lead! You are on fire! Lead! You are burning!” Any attempt for Tom to process this new information was cut short by a sudden spray of hot oil pouring out of one of the vents covering his instrument panels and burning his eyes. Fighting through the pain, Tom began wiping off his panels, but each just brought further bad news, so he gave up on that enterprise. Tom couldn’t see through all the smoke and oil, so he threw open the canopy which did improve visibility, but it also made the spray of hot oil significantly more unpleasant.
Tom took stock of his situation. His wounded aircraft didn’t seem likely to fly the 30 miles to the nearest friendly airstrip. Furthermore, he was flying a disintegrating airplane a couple hundred feet above a jungle inhabited by men he imagined would very much like to get their hands on him for the deliveries he had sent them just prior. Not that this mattered much, the T-28 had no ejection seats – the pilot just had to bail over the side – and he was probably about a thousand feet too low for that to be anything other than a death sentence.
All of which turned out to be purely academic, however, as his engine gave up. Tom’s world was a flurry of activity as he closed fuel sectors, pumped down flaps, and made correction after correction in a desperate bid to crash land his burning glider in a rice paddy he had flown over seconds before. As his plane slammed belly first into what seemed to be an all-encompassing blur of green paste, Tom realized two things. The first was that this was not, in fact, a rice paddy. Rather, it was a cane field which meant that instead of landing on two or three-foot-tall rice stalks in shin-high water, he was landing in four- or five-foot water with canes sticking up about six foot above that. The second realization was that, while he had no pitch or roll control, his rudders still worked. Figuring this would either slow him down or give him something to do until he died, Tom began to wrestle with the controls. Mercifully, the plane began to slow, but only slow. Suddenly, it slammed into a wall of earth dividing the field from its neighbor and everything went dark.
Tom awoke to the sound of .50 caliber fire. After a moment of confusion, he realized it was his own .50 caliber fire – his hand had squeezed on the throttle trigger as he blacked out. Bemused by this, he leapt out of the aircraft, which was beginning to sink into the muck. He instinctively checked his rear cockpit for his Vietnamese observer. It was empty, but Tom had no time to think about that. (It turned out the observer had taken the opened cockpit and accompanying spray of oil as a cue to jump out of the aircraft. His chute had opened only just in time and he landed in a banana field where he ditched his uniform and blended in with the locals.) He couldn’t see any hostiles, but Frank was flying back and forth strafing the trees a few hundred yards in front of him and Tom figured that Frank probably wasn’t doing that for the heck of it.
There would be relief sent, a company of South Vietnamese Marines would probably be parachuted in to even out the fight by sometime next morning. But next morning was an awfully long way away – and the Viet Cong weren’t. Resigned, Tom grabbed an M2 Carbine and a few 30-round clips out of the now mostly sunken wreckage and slunk off into the vegetation to await his fate, a trail of oil tracing his path. His odds did not look good.
Fortunately, Tom and Frank were not the only pilots in South Vietnam and by now the air was buzzing with T-28s and B-26s. One of these happened to fly by a dirt strip in the center of Ca Mau and noticed a brand new UH-1A Huey Helicopter – one of the very first in Vietnam – sitting on the dirt strip. By a stroke of luck, Brigadier- General Richard Stillwell was there being briefed by his subordinates. The Army pilots were contacted and without hesitation took to the air. They found Tom as he emerged from the undergrowth covered in oil looking “like someone who had just survived a freighter sinking.” He clambered onto the landing skids of the helicopter and the crew pulled him inside. Finding him unhurt, but tired and thirsty, they gave him a canteen and sat him on the floor. They couldn’t have him soiling up the seats of the General’s plush new helicopter after all!
Tom immediately penned a letter to his wife and children, letting them know he was safe. He would stay in Vietnam for the remainder of his tour and fly more than 40 more missions. In 1966, he was reassigned to be the Assistant Air Attaché to Burma where he spent more than a decade providing valuable training and organizational expertise to American and Thai air missions. After the conclusion of American involvement in Vietnam, Tom was crucial in the efforts to recover prisoners of war and missing personnel, both living and otherwise. His efforts were recognized by the State Department for their great value and helped pave the way for normalization of relations between the United States and Vietnam. He retired a Lieutenant Colonel, having served his country for 20 years.
A resident of Meridian, ID, Lt.Col. Thomas Schornak’s memorabilia is located in case 186, located in area 25 in the second hangar.
We proudly partner with veterans and veteran support groups such as Mission43 and Challenged Athlete Foundation that help inspire and transition our military veterans into successful post-military careers.
Veterans History Project interviews restart in April
To sign up, click here!
Number of Core Volunteers:
2020 Number of Hours Worked:
Total Hours Since 2002:
Total Value: $5 Million
276 donors who gave $235,827
Many donations qualify for the Idaho Education Tax Credit. Consult your tax advisor.
Richard & Nadine Chaffin
Addie & Sam Chambers
Lindsey Family Foundation
Jim & Marcia Holmes
Brad & Stephanie Ingram
John & Sue Paul
Ed & Ina Adler
Doug & Darlene Black
Doug & Meredith Carnahan
Brian & Stephanie Deeds
Mary Lou Gurr
Glenda & Lynn Hawkins
Barry & Ali Hill
James & Stevan Krogh
Larry & Miller Sawyer
Eldon “Buck” Buckner
First Interstate Bank
Jason & Kristin Kaiser
Micron Technology Foundation
Peter & Julie Oliver
Max & Amanda Percy
Robert & Grace Smith
Richard & Leigh Basley
John & Jolly Eck
Andrew & Shannon Erstad
Kenneth & Paula Little
Greg & Donna Loux
Robert & Bonnie Patterson
Ken & Liz Rhoades
Robert & Betty Jo Wunderle
Roger & Virginia Allen
Harlan Barney, Jr.
Larry & Char Boyd
L Kent Brown
Dave & Suzi Butzier
Joseph Patrick Cardona, Jr.
Clint & Carolyn Casey
Larry & Kathy Clucas
Ron & Nancy Dale
Douglas & Barbara Eno
Brian & Christine Field
Willard & Jerrie Lee Gribble
Dick & Sondra Hackborn
Joe & Kathy Hopkins
Richard & Joy Kimmel
Terry & Carol Lofsvold
Dwayne McAbbe, Sr.
Don & Judy Menger
Robert & Anita Peterson
Kenneth & Mary Rivett
Randy & Charlotte Shepard
John & Carolyn Snyder
Richard St John
Robert Tuttle, Sr.
Johnathan Van der Veen
Gary & Bethany Van Hees
Joel & Michelle van Treeck
Jerome & Rosemary Van Treeck
Curtiss P-40N Warhawk “Parrot Head”
Designed by Don Berlin, the P-40N was developed from the P-36 and was America’s foremost fighter in service when World War II began. P-40s engaged Japanese aircraft during the attack on Pearl Harbor and the invasion of the Philippines in December 1941. They also were flown in China early in 1942 by the famed Flying Tigers, and in North Africa in 1943 by the first AAF all-black unit, the 99th Fighter Squadron.
The P-40 served in numerous combat areas. The Aleutian Islands, Italy, North Africa, the Middle East, China, the Far East, the Southwest Pacific, and Russia. Though often outclassed by its adversaries in speed, maneuverability, and rate of climb, the P-40 earned a reputation in battle for extreme ruggedness. At the end of the P-40s career, more than 14,000 had been produced for service in the air forces of 28 nations.
The museum’s P-40N was restored by John Paul to flying condition in the 1980s and made its first post-restoration flight in 1986. It competes at the Reno Air Races and was used in the filming of Michael Bay’s 2001 motion picture Pearl Harbor.
- Built: Original construction 1942, Buffalo, NY
- Markings: Painted in the markings of the “Parrot Head” squadron of the class of 43 Dothan, Alabama
- Engine: Allison V-1710 -81/99, Liquid Cooled V-12 Inline, 1240 hp @ 3000 rpm
- Propeller: Curtiss Electric, 11′ diameter 3 blade
- Armament: 6x .50 Caliber Machine Guns, 1x 500 lb bomb
- Length: 33’4″
- Height: 12’4″
- Wingspan: 37′
- Weight: 8,850 lbs
- Range: 575 miles
- Service Ceiling: 29,100 ft
- Max Speed: 378 mph @ 10,500 ft
- Max Cruise: 288 mph