Michiel “Mick” Hanou joined the AAM as a Founding Member in 1992 to thank veterans for liberating his Dutch parents during World War II. Since then, Mr. Hanou has taken an active role at the AAM by attending and volunteering at air shows and has become a longtime member of the Eagle Squadron Society – our highest membership giving level. Mr. Hanou is also an avid WWII researcher. This January, we talked with Mick about what inspired him to join the AAM:

Carl Warner and Mick Hanou
Mick Hanou (right) with the AAM’s Carl Warner (left)

What does being a member of the AAM mean to you? It is a way I can help keep the memory alive of what the American airmen did in England. When I meet a veteran, I thank them not “for our freedom” but for “risking their lives for the freedom of people you didn’t know.” I’m especially pleased that I joined the Next Generation Campaign and was able to have the names of three dear veterans inscribed on the wall on the upper level of the ramp. That’s very important to me.

Do you have any highlights from your time supporting the AAM? I started attending the July air show at Duxford in 1996. Since 2003, I’ve flown out from California every year to be with the volunteers on gate security. I love being part of the air show experience. Though the highlight for me is taking WWII veterans to see the aircraft they flew during the war. I’ve so many once-a-year friends amongst the volunteers and staff at Duxford!

Do you have a favorite aircraft, object or story in the American Air Museum? My favorite object is the video display, which illustrates the strategic bombing campaign in Europe. My favorite aircraft is a tough, as it varies on the criteria being discussed. The B-17 and B-24 are special, but my favorite WWII aircraft is a British one: the Mosquito.

You’ve done a lot of research about World War II. Have you made any notable discoveries? Over the years of experiences with veterans at Reunions and air shows, I developed quite an interest in WWII history, especially the 91st Bomb Group. I met the pilot of the B-17 ‘Delta Rebel No 2,’ who said the aircraft had finished 25 missions before the ‘Memphis Belle’. After years of research, I proved that the ‘Delta Rebel’ had indeed completed 25 missions first. My findings bring a formerly undocumented piece of history to light. It is one of the things I am most proud of accomplishing.

Mr. Hanou is a proud 2020 Eagle Squadron Member, but he was mistakenly not on the Eagle Squadron Listing in the September 2020 Newsletter. The American Air Museum apologizes and thanks Mr. Hanou for his years of dedicated support. It is because of his support, and support from all of our members, that the AAM is able to honor the service and sacrifice of American airmen from WWI and beyond. This conversation was edited for clarity.

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