National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation Announces Naming of Colonel Neel Kearby Theater During National Medal of Honor Day Celebration

Museum Foundation leadership partnered with City of Arlington, Texas to pay tribute to local Medal of Honor recipient and kick off Museum’s one-year ‘March to Grand Opening’ countdown 

Arlington, TX  Today, the National Medal of Honor Museum Foundation (NMOHMF) joined Arlington, Texas Mayor Jim Ross, and other community leaders to celebrate National Medal of Honor Day and the life and legacy of Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Neel E. Kearby. During the event, the Museum announced that it will pay tribute to the local World War II hero by naming its new theater after Colonel Kearby. Photos of the event can be found here.

“With the naming of the Colonel Neel Kearby Theater, we celebrate and honor this Texas hero’s tremendous legacy of service and sacrifice, appreciating that the city he called home will soon be home to a national museum dedicated to preserving and sharing stories like his and the values they represent,” said NMOHMF President and CEO Chris Cassidy. “Today begins our one-year countdown to officially opening our doors on National Medal of Honor Day 2025, and we’re thrilled to kick off our ‘March to Grand Opening’ with this tribute to an Arlington native who went above and beyond in service to our country.”

The announcement ceremony featured remarks from Cassidy, Mayor Ross, and City Manager Trey Yelverton. 

“We are proud to be partners with the National Medal of Honor Museum and look forward to dedicating this new theater in honor of Colonel Kearby when the Museum opens its doors one year from today,” said Mayor Jim Ross. “Colonel Kearby is not just one of Arlington’s greatest heroes, but one of America’s greatest heroes. We can’t wait to welcome Arlington residents and visitors from across the country and around the world to a place where they can learn from and be inspired by the fewer than 4,000 brave Americans who earned our nation’s highest honor for valor in combat – including Arlington’s own Colonel Neel Kearby.”

“The opening of the National Medal of Honor Museum in Arlington next March will do more than draw hundreds of thousands of new visitors to our city,” said City Manager Trey Yelverton. “It will help ensure the values represented by the Medal are passed on to future generations both here in Arlington, throughout Texas, and across the rest of the country.” 

Colonel Kearby earned the Medal of Honor for his actions as an Army Air Force fighter pilot in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He was born in Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from Arlington High School and the University of Texas at Arlington before joining the Army Air Corp. During his service, Colonel Kearby set a record for the most aerial combat victories. He earned the Medal of Honor on October 11, 1943, when the reconnaissance mission he led encountered a large force of enemy bombers and fighters. Despite being outnumbered 12 to 1, he shot down six enemy aircraft before leading his team to safety. He died on March 5, 1944, after his plane want shot down over New Guinea. He is buried at Hillcrest Cemetery in Dallas. 

Located in Arlington, the National Medal of Honor Museum broke ground on March 25, 2022, and is slated to open its doors on March 25, 2025 – National Medal of Honor Day – with more than 100,000 square feet of space, including 31,000 square feet dedicated to Exhibition Galleries telling the history of the Medal of Honor and the stories of the American heroes who earned it. Renderings of the Museum, including the Colonel Neel Kearby Theater, can be found here

About the National Medal of Honor Museum, Monument and Griffin Institute: The National Medal of Honor Museum, Monument and Griffin Institute will inspire individuals by honoring and preserving the history of the highest military decoration awarded for valor in combat.

The Museum, opening in 2025, will serve as a national landmark located in America’s heartland in Arlington, Texas, and provide an unrivaled, interactive visitor experience that commemorates the historical thread of sacrifice, patriotism, and courage that connects members of the United States military service past and present. It is the Museum’s mission to tell the stories of Medal of Honor recipients in a dynamic and interactive setting that will inspire visitors to recognize the potential for the extraordinary that resides in us all. 

Through dynamic and far-reaching curriculum and programming, the National Medal of Honor Griffin Institute is bringing to life the core values inherent to the Medal of Honor in classrooms, boardrooms, and communities around the country.

In 2021, The National Medal of Honor Monument Act was signed into law, paving the way for the monument’s placement in Washington, D.C. Soon, Americans and visitors of every nation will have the opportunity to reflect on the values represented by those whose selfless and courageous actions have served to safeguard freedom and democracy the world over.

For more information please visit the National Medal of Honor Museum website or follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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