Of course, everyone loves the Recombobulation Area signs at Gen. Mitchell International Airport, but there’s so much more to love, there, too, beyond the ease of getting around (at what other major urban airport can you deplane and be at your car in less than 10 minutes?!)
There’s what is like the only used bookstore in an airport terminal, as well as frozen custard right next door. And, for many years, there’s been a free museum.
The Mitchell Gallery of Flight – open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – was most recently housed right on the main concourse next to a Starbucks and a convenience store, displaying plane models, Milwaukee aviation memorabilia, historical photos of the airport and more.
This week, the ribbon was cut on a new Mitchell Gallery of Flight location on the south side of the terminal, as well as a new location for the USO Lounge right next door.
Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, Milwaukee County Supervisor John F. Weishan Jr., and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on Tuesday in the latest unveiling of changes to the airport’s retail, restaurants and amenities.
"The new and larger museum space will provide us with more opportunities to showcase Wisconsin’s proud flight heritage, and the newly-remodeled USO Lounge will continue to ensure the safety and comfort of military members and their families traveling through MKE," said Airport Director Brian Dranzik.
Mitchell Gallery of Flight Board President Bill Streicher also announced a new exhibit honoring Wisconsin's Tuskegee Airman, World War II African-American fighter pilot Lt. Alfred Gorham.
The exhibition is timely, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII.
The USO Lounge, now located before security, is open daily and is designed to be a comfortable space for military members and their families. It was previously located on Concourse D, after the TSA security checkpoint.
"The new USO Wisconsin Center ... will allow us to better serve military who
are flying out of any concourse," said USO Wisconsin Executive Director Josh Sova.
"Our VIP service is even more enhanced for recruits headed to basic training, reservists and National Guard annual training, service members deploying overseas, and families of the fallen."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.