Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Airborne and Special Operations Museum, Fayetteville, NC--Part I

The Airborne and Special Operations Museum in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was a stop on our way home from Florida last Christmas. It's finally getting a blog post!

Airborne and Special Operations Museum

The building has a large statue out front called Iron Mike. Weighing over a ton and a half, he depicts a World War II paratrooper who has just landed. The statue was originally erected at Fort Bragg when the statue was built in the early 1960s. It was replaced with a bronze replica and eventually moved to this museum. Starting last year (2014), a "Mike to Mike" half marathon runs from the museum statue to the Fort's statue.

Iron Mike

The rocks underneath the statue are from the Curahee Mountain, part of the grounds at Camp Toccoa where the first paratroopers were trained. The soldiers ran "three miles up, three miles down" the mountain as part of their training. "Curahee," the Native American word for "stand alone," is now the motto of the 506th Infantry Regiment.

The lobby has two fully-deployed parachutes on display. The round one is a World War II-era T-5 chute; the square one is a modern MC-4 chute. They represent both the history and the continual modernization of the airborne forces.

The lobby

WWII T-5 chute

Modern MC-4 chute

When we visited, the temporary exhibit displayed information and items from the Battle of Mogadishu, a 1993 raid that was supposed to be a "smash and grab" but turned into a fourteen hour firefight. The center of the exhibit is the rotor from the Super 61 helicopter that was shot down during the mission, killing the two pilots and injuring other crew members.

Rotor from Super 61

Arms dealer

Two paratroopers

More of the museum in the next post!

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