The mission of the National Infantry Museum is to honor the legacy and valor of the United States Infantry from the past, the present, and the future.
Fort Benning, National Infantry Museum, national infantry foundation, world trade centers
MobileRVing: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written by Jared Langenegger.
Through The Eyes of An Infantry Solider
The National Infantry Museum Is A Testament To The Courageous Men & Women Willing To Volunteer And Serve Their Country Being Trained At Fort Benning
At Fort Benning Georgia, the home of the United States Infantry, volunteers and docents share the infantry experience with visitors from around the world. The National Infantry Museum, has been in the works for many years. The idea was brought to fruition through the work of General Jerry White, commanding officer of Fort Benning in the 1990s.
“He really got the ball rolling. When he retired, he put together a group of like-minded men and started the National Infantry Foundation. They started raising money, and broke ground in 2005. We opened the doors in June of 2009. I think you could say, General White was the father of the museum, because he really got everything going”, claimed Jim Talley assistant to the director of education and volunteer services at the museum.
The museum works to allow visitors the opportunity to experience in a small way, what it’s like for our soldiers. “It’s an emotional experience. We try to capture the visitor’s imagination as soon as they go through the doors. Our mission statement is very simple. It is to honor the legacy and valor of the United States Infantry from the past, the present, and the future. With the future being the ones that are being trained at the fort right now”, stated Talley.
A visit to the museum starts out with an exhibit called the last 100 yards. It is said that the US Army Infantry has owned the last 100 yards of the battle field. “There comes a point on the battle field, where it’s left to the infantry to cross the last 100 yards to meet the enemy, defeat him, and hold the objective. In the last 100 yards, we take you to visit eight different battle fields. The journey in itself is extremely powerful. As you enter, there is a gently sloped path that you follow. The path is very symbolic, because with the infantry soldier, it’s always an uphill battle.
We use a lot of figures in our display that are not manikins, but actually body casts of young combat soldiers. That is very powerful for our visitors to understand. What we stress is that as you look into the face of one of these figures on display, they are looking at the real face of a young soldier that has been on the battlefield defending our country. That right there is the beginning of capturing the visitor’s imagination to understand what it’s all about”, explained Talley.
While many of the visitors to the museum arrive as part of the military graduation, there are several with no direct military connection. “Their only impression of the military is what they may see on the movies or television, or what they read about. We love to get those visitors. We have had many times those visitors that have no earthly idea about the military. After spending a good bit of time with us as they leave coming through the lobby, those visitors will walk up to one of us and say ‘thank you, we never understood’ and usually, they will have damp cheeks. That is the most gratifying thing, to ensure that our visitors have a good visit with us, a profound visit, an emotional visit”, Talley said.
Fort Benning serves as the training ground for the US Army Infantry. The museum hosts several visitors and families of the young men and women training at the fort. Graduation day is especially moving for these individuals. “The parade field is directly behind the building, and this is where the young soldiers graduate nearly every week. We are thronged with all of the family members that come to witness the ceremonies. Over the past year, we have had 133 graduations on the parade field”, Talley stated.
The museum is continually expanding, and is currently opening a new exhibit honoring the soldiers in the war on terror. “It has been dedicated October 16, 2017. It’s a magnificent memorial. It consists of panels and the names of all of those that have fallen since 9/11 engraved on those panels. You can also witness a narrative about the global war on terror honoring all of the different military units that have participated. Visually it is very striking, there is sculptures in which young soldiers were the models. They will represent the infantry rifle squad. The centerpiece of the new memorial is a 12-foot steel beam from the north tower of the World Trade Center. It’s mounted on two vertical columns and is mounted at a downward angle to give the impression of the collapse of the World Trade Centers on that day, very striking”, claimed Talley.
The monumental responsibility for maintaining safety and security in the world never ceases. Thankfully, there are courageous men and women willing to volunteer to serve their country being trained at Fort Benning on a continual basis. Their legacy and valor will never be forgotten and continues to be honored with memorials like the National Infantry Museum.
A graduate of New Mexico State University with B.S. in wildlife and fisheries science, Jared spent 15 years working in fisheries and parks management. He enjoys camping, fishing, hunting, painting, and wood working.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Uchee Creek Army Campground, nestled along the banks of the Chattahoochee River. This Fort Benning, 385 acre park has 85 RV sites, 39 cabins, 15 chalets, tent sites, numerous recreation areas, rental facilities and a wealth of outdoor activities.