I had to attend a military school at Camp Shelby, Mississippi earlier this month and I took the opportunity to visit a fantastic military museum during my time off. Visiting museums is one of my favorite things to do and I always make an effort to visit as many as I can whenever I am in a new city.
The class I had to attend was the Observer Coach / Trainer certification course held at the First Army Academy. The class is mandatory for my current assignment back here at Fort Bliss, Texas. The class provides basic instruction on the finer points of planning, conducting and providing feedback to rotational training units that come to Fort Bliss for training prior to deploying overseas, sometimes to combat assignments in the middle east. Most days we wrapped up class around 4pm, which gave me plenty of time to visit the museum.
The museum is impressive, especially considering that it was originally started by two veterans who put their personal collections of war artifacts on display in a small room in a warehouse. In 2001, a 23,000 square foot facility was built which now houses the museum. If you ever get a chance to visit, I highly recommend it. All displays were open except for the World War II exhibit which will be complete and ready for viewing early in 2017.
M4A1 Sherman Tank. This is a beautiful example of the well known Sherman that helped win WWII.
First Army Academy OC/T Course - Class 17-03. Yours truly is located in the top row far right.
The South Gate entrance to Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
M60 Patton Tank
The sunset behind the M4A1 Sherman Tank.
M3 Stuart Light Tank.
Side view of the M4A1 Sherman Tank
Many don't know that the Army has an air wing. This OV-1 Mohawk observation aircraft could be outfitted with a variety of armaments including 50 cal. machine guns.
This is a cannon captured from the Spanish in the Philippines at the conclusion of the Spanish - American War.
A fine example of a ZSU 23-4 Soviet Anti-Aircraft Gun.
The focus of the exhibits features the military history of troops from Mississippi and begins with the War of 1812 and pre-Civil War era.
1898 Krag-Jorgensen Rifle
Civil War Exhibit
1858 Starr Double Action Revolver
1860 Colt Army Revolver. This example is attached to a wood stock.
The one and only M1911 .45 ACP
Company C, 114th Supply, 39th Division World War I era.
M1917 Colt Revolver (top) and M1917 Smith and Wesson Revolver (bottom)
Another M1911. So awesome.
M1903 Springfield (top) and M1917 Enfield Rifle (bottom)
German "Pickelhaube" World War I helmet.
The infamous Mauser C96 "Broomhandle" Semi-Auto Pistol
Assorted German World War I small arms including Gewehr 98 (top left), Gewehr 88 (middle left), M1910 Mauser Pistol 7.65x17mm (top right), C96 Mauser (middle right), P08 Luger with stock.
Entrance to the "trenches" of the World War I exhibit.
A "dough boy" peers above the trenches into no man's land.
A beautiful P08 Luger
G.V. Montgomery - Author of the GI Bill. Thanks dude!
Perhaps a little known fact, the Army fielded an updated version of the M1911 known at the M15. It shared the same .45 ACP cartridge but has a short barrel and larger sights. It was issued to Officers and was therefore known as the M15 General Officers Pistol.
Medal of Honor recipient Jacklyn H. Lucas. 1st Battalion, 26th Marines, 5th Marine Division. Iwo Jima. He was only 17 years old when he received the Medal of Honor. Wow.
Korean War exhibit.
North American F86 Saber fighter jet.
Vietnam War Landing Zone exhibit.
First Army Academy Barracks.
An M249 SAW machine gun outfitted with a MILES laser.
OC/T students step off on a tactical road march.
This soldier's M16 rifle is fitted with a blank adapter (red).
A soldier makes a cautious approach to a village that his squad is about to raid.
With training complete, it's time to clean the weapons.