Since Jim was in the Army for three years, including a year in
Vietnam (1968), then retired from the Army and Air Force National
Reserves, it was a no-brainer that we'd visit this huge museum while we
stayed at Fort Benning.
We recommend anyone who's visiting the area spend at least a couple
hours touring this facility. There are thousands of interactive
exhibits, monuments, artifacts, and video presentations on public
display, and even more archived for preservation and future display.
We barely scratched the surface of the interior in one hour and
didn't have time that day to see any of the exhibits outside. Someday
we'll go back to see all the things we missed.
The perspective of my photo is wonky; the museum is not!
You don't have to go on post to see the museum and all of its
attractions; access is off a beautiful boulevard called Legacy
Way in Columbus.
You do have to go through a security check to get in, however, so
leave your backpack, large purse, or pocket knife in your vehicle.
Access is free for
everyone. Donations of $5 per person are
"suggested" and it's well worth that cost or more to tour this
interactive and technologically innovative facility. It's a great place
for everyone from school-age kids to senior citizens. All areas inside
the museum are handicapped-accessible.
Statue at entrance
There are three levels to the museum and the layout is well
designed for self-guided tours.
After a volunteer in the main lobby gave us a brochure with a map in
it, he directed us to the "Last 100 Yards Ramp," which took us gradually
up through infantry exhibits depicting scenes from the American
Revolution through modern conflicts to a landing called the Fort Benning
Depiction the capture of Redoubt
#10 during the American Revolution,
Jim looks at a Huey helicopter like those he flew
in during the war in Vietnam.
Wars in the Middle East
Numerous exhibits and displays on the Landing showcased modern Army
life, Ranger training, equipment used, history of Fort Benning, and
Next we went up to the mezzanine level, which houses a giant screen
theater (we didn't watch anything there), administrative and
organizational offices, the OCS and Ranger Halls of Honor, Heritage
Hall, the Fife & Drum Restaurant, and the 2nd Infantry Regiment Gallery.
On the gallery level are several large rooms surrounding the Grand
Hall that focus on various "eras" of conflict, like World War I
and II, during the last century:
This large room focused on Korea,
Vietnam, Grenada, and the Soviet Union .
Jim pointed out to me where he fought in 1968.
Within the large room with exhibits about Vietnam is a glass-enclosed
room with such a realistic depiction of combat conditions in these
jungles that the entrance door has a caution sign re: how
realistic it is -- and how to bypass it. We both went through it:
There is so much to see in the half dozen "era" rooms that a real history buff with
lots of time on his or her hands could spend days reading all the
information about each war. We didn't go into all of them.
The impressive Hall of Valor, which pays tribute to American
infantrymen who have received Medals of Honor, is located in the Grand
The Medal of Honor is our nation's highest award for bravery. Since
the Civil War the Army has garnered more Medal of Honor recipients than
all the other branches of military service combined.
The gallery level also includes training simulators and a virtual rescue
mission in a Humvee.
As mentioned earlier, we didn't have time the day we visited the
museum to go outside to see all the exhibits on the campus. They
- Heritage Walk, which is lined with state and territorial flags and
commemorative pavers. It leads to Inouye Field, where graduation
ceremonies are held for Army trainees.
- A 3/4-scale replica of the Vietnam Wall lists the names of more
than 58,000 killed or missing service members.
- The Memorial Walk of Honor has dozens of memorials to Infantry
units in a park-like setting.
- WWII Company Street features seven buildings outfitted with period
pieces depicting life on an Army post during the 1940s. Check for tour
times inside the museum.
A new Global War on Terrorism memorial will be dedicated in October.
It consists of eight large granite panels etched with the names of ~
7,000 service men and women from all branches of the military who have
lost their lives since 9/11.
This is the
website for the museum, if you'd like
further information and photos. Be sure to check the website for days
and hours of operation if you plan to visit, as well as a list of items
you can and cannot take inside. Photos and videos (without flash) are
allowed for personal use.
Next entry: why we decided to buy another house and stop
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody, Casey, and Holly-pup
© 2017 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil