The Fernandina Beach Rotary Club recently welcomed U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Frank Gallo, who spoke to the club about the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The retired admiral has been a docent at the museum since 1993. Despite his 34 years as an officer and pilot with the Navy and his background in aeronautical engineering, Gallo said the Smithsonian put him through an intensive interview and training process before allowing him to work at the museum.

Gallo went on to regale the club with stories about the many fascinating exhibits and collections at the Museum on the Mall in Washington D.C. and its companion facility, the Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport. He spoke at length about the Wright brothers and their competitors race to design the first airplane and the innovations that lead to pressurized cabins allowing for passenger travel. He explained that the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in August of 1945, was originally designed for long-distance flight to bomb Germany when it seemed England would fall to the Blitz during World War II. He closed on a humorous note, saying one of the 10 Boeing Stratoliners built -- the first commercial transport plane with a pressurized cabin -- is now a floating house boat in South Florida named the Cosmic Muffin.