Omaha Public Radio News
3:05 pm
Thu October 27, 2011

Exhibit honors life, military service of U.S. and Soviet war hero

Omaha, NE – A new exhibit at the Strategic Air and Space Museum explores the life of a U.S. war hero who also fought for the Soviet Union in World War Two.

The exhibit is called "Joe Beyrle: Hero of Two Nations." Beyrle was a paratrooper in World War Two. He was captured by the Nazis at the Battle of Normandy and held in a POW camp for several months before escaping, and joining up with the Soviet army fighting the Nazis. Beyrle returned home in 1945 after being wounded in combat.

Scott Tarry, director of the Strategic Air and Space Museum, says the exhibit tells both a personal and a historical story. "We as a nation sometimes don't remember our history very well, so it's an opportunity for us to remind ourselves of the enormous sacrifice and the effort that it took on behalf of our country during World War Two, men and women who mobilized our country in the name of fighting against the Nazis."

The exhibit features photos of Beyrle, a Michigan native, his U.S. and Russian medals, letters, as well as documents from his training as a paratrooper and his service.

Joe Beyrle passed away in 2004. His son John is U.S. Ambassador to Russia. "Joe Beyrle: Hero of Two Nations" will be on exhibit at the Strategic Air and Space Museum until December 16.