Warner Robins and Macon Road Trip Scanning Report; 11/12 June 2018

Since my nephew is thinking about joining the military after he graduates from high school, I took him on a trip to the Museum of Aviation at Robins AFB, the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, and the Andersonville National Historic Site/Cemetery on Monday and Tuesday. We went to the Museum of Aviation with a side trip to the big Bass Pro Shops in Macon on Monday, stayed overnight in Warner Robins and then went to the National Infantry Museum and Andersonville on Tuesday, driving back home to Savannah on Tuesday evening. Since I wasn’t traveling alone, I didn’t have as much radio time as usual, but I did let the Home Patrol 2 and TRX-2 in the mobile station and the BCD436HP and TRX-1 portables scan and log during the trip.

Of particular interest on the first day of the trip, was Robins AFB. I always enjoy listening to military aviation activity at Robins and on Monday I was able to hear the usual E-8 JSTARS and Air Logistics Center activity, but some P-8s from NAS Jacksonville doing pattern work as well. The USAF TRS site at Robins AFB is something I usually listen to as well.  During this trip, I was able to ascertain that the USAF TRS encrypted talkgroup that is listed as “Doghouse” on RadioReference seems to be associated with the 116th/461st ACW and that the encrypted talkgroup 56166 seems to be the 116th/461st ACW MOC net.

Robins AFB
133.225 – Tower
257.975 – Tower
121.850 – Ground
275.800 – Ground
134.100 – Base Ops
225.925 – Robins ALC Ops
293.525 – 116th/461st ACW “PEACHTREE Ops”
119.600 – Atlanta TRACON
124.200 – Atlanta TRACON
279.600 – Atlanta TRACON
134.500 – ZTL South Departure Low
360.750 – ZTL South Departure Low

USAF TRS
TG 56046 – unknown
TG 56070 – ALC MOC
TG 56082 – ALC
TG 56121 – Robins AFB Base Ops
TG 56122 – Robins AFB Tower
TG 56123 – Robins AFD FD Dispatch
TG 56141 – Doghouse (enc); related to 116th/46st ACW)
TG 56166 – 116th/461st ACW (enc) (suspect this is MOC net)
TG 56192 – unknown
TG 56193 – unknown
TG 56257 – unknown

Monday evening and night’s weather around Warner Robins wasn’t very good. so it delayed several E-8 JSTARS flights at Robins AFB and generated a good bit of traffic on MOC nets at the base. TIGER 04 (P-8A, 169007, VP-8) and TIGER 88 (P-8A, 168760, VP-8) got in some pattern work at Robins before the storms came and DRACO 06 (E-8C, 00-2000, 116th/461st ACW) and PEACH 99 (E-8C, 94-0284, 116th/461st ACW) finally took off late in the evening after having to delay takeoff for lightning in the area.

TIGER 88 TIGER 4 3
ADS-B plot of TIGER 04 (P-8A, 169007, VP-8) and TIGER 88 (P-8A, 168760, VP-8) in the pattern at Robins AFB on 11 June 2018
IMG_20180611_213050_resize
The laptop running with a RadarBox Micro ADS-B/Mode-S receiver, TRX-1 andBCD436HP scanners connected to the laptop, and a BC125AT at the motel room in Warner Robins

At the Museum of Aviation, a number of aircraft are under restoration, including their B-17G, HU-16, and VP-26B. All three are in the Scott Exhibit Hangar behind the Eagle Building (main building). Unfortunately, the EC-135 that used to be the CENTCOM command post aircraft is still out back behind the museum with parts of the aircraft removed. I hope they get some funding at some point to restore it. The last time I visited the museum, someone asked if John Travolta’s Gulfstream was still there; on this visit, I looked behind the hangars and it is still there.

 

 

After spending the night in Warner Robins, we left for Fort Benning and Andersonville on Tuesday morning. The morning was foggy and there were rain showers and thunderstorms throughout the day, so I didn’t hear all that much activity around Fort Benning. The radios did log some aviation activity from Lawson AAF and some land mobile traffic from the Fort Benning TRS, but nothing new was turned up since my last visit there in 2017.

Fort Benning
119.050 – Lawson AAF Tower
269.525 – Lawson AAF Tower
125.500 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
126.550 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
323.100 – Atlanta Approach/Departure
134.100 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
245.700 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
121.050 – Lawson AAF GCA
132.400 – Lawson AAF GCA
307.325 – Lawson AAF GCA

Fort Benning TRS
TG 3041 – unknown
TG 3255 – Bayonet Battalion
TG 3274 – unknown
TG 3389 – unknown
TG 3453 – Lawson AAF
TG 3517 – Transportation
TG 3636 – Ammunition
TG 3537 – unknown
TG 3567 – Range Control?
TG 3701 – E911
TG 3703 – Range Control

While my nephew, who is really interested in the Rangers, enjoyed seeing the Ranger related exhibits at the National Infantry Museum, I took particular interest in some of their World War I exhibits. I never get tired of seeing the Renault FT tanks there and the M1916 Armored Car. On this visit, they had the Global War on Terror memorial completed across from the Vietnam War memorial. Just as the Vietnam War memorial has all the names of those killed in action during the Vietnam War, the Global War on Terror memorial has all of the names of those killed in action during that conflict.

 

 

After we visited the National Infantry Museum, since it wasn’t very far away, I thought it was important that my nephew see the site of the Civil War prison camp, the Prisoner of War Museum, and the cemetery at the Andersonville National Historic Site. I felt that if he was going to see all of the “cool” stuff about military history at the National Infantry Museum, he should see the other side of military history at Andersonville. I wanted him to impress upon him that the military wasn’t always glamorous and that there was a downside to military history that we need to remember. Luckily we got there just as the afternoon guided tour was about to begin. Park Service intern Jessica gave the tour and did a magnificent job of it. She just didn’t point out was there and what happened there, but also encouraged us to think and contemplate upon what happened at Andersonville. It was something I’m glad my nephew was able to experience.

 

In the bottom left photo above, of the graves of Union prisoners of war who died at Andersonville, I’ll call your attention to the six gravestones that sit off to the right on their own. These are the graves of the Raiders, a group of POWs who robbed from and killed their fellow POWs. They were tried by a jury of the peers and hanged by their peers by permission of the Confederate camp commander. They are considered dishonorably discharged and aren’t honored on holidays as are the rest of the POWs buried at Andersonville.

On both Monday and Tuesday, we were within listening range of the Bulldog MOA in east/central Georgia and could hear F-16s from Shaw AFB and McEntire JNGB as well as F-35Bs from MCAS Beaufort operating in the MOA on 343.750. We could also hear them entering and exiting the MOA on 322.325 with Atlanta Center.

There was a lot of public safety radio traffic to hear during the trip. In addition to local agencies in Georgia, we could hear local public safety agencies in Alabama while around Fort Benning and Columbus. Given the mix of urban and rural areas we went through, there was a mix of conventional and trunked systems as well as a mix of analog and digital traffic.

Georgia Conventional Public Safety
154.3550 (PL 141.3) – Butts Co FD Dispatch
154.1750 (PL 88.5) – Crawford Co FD Dispatch
154.0700 (PL 186.2) – Laurens Co FD Dispatch (Analog)
155.4000 (PL 85.4) – Macon Co FD/EMS Dispatch
155.6475 (PL 110.9) – Schley FD Dispatch
155.5500 (PL 225.7) – Talbot Co VFD
154.2650 (PL 156.7) – Taylor Co FD Dispatch
160.6650 (PL 118.8) – Upson Co FD Dispatch
159.1950 (PL 100.0) – Upson Co EMS Dispatch

Georgia State Public Safety
159.2250 (PL 179.9) – GFC D2 Repeater
159.2250 (PL 123.0) – GFC D3 Macon Repeater
159.1200 (DCS 047) – GFC D4 Covington Repeater
159.2400 (PL 167.9) – GFC D6 Bleckley Repeater

Alabama Conventional Public Safety
159.4350 (PL 107.2) – Barbour Co, AL Fire 1
151.1150 (PL 167.9) – Lee Co, AL Common
155.1450 (PL 123.0) – Lee Co, AL FD East Dispatch
154.0250 (PL 167.9) – Lee Co, AL EMS 1
155.8950 (PL 107.2) – Lee Co, AL EMS 2
154.4000 (DCS 134) – Auburn FD (Lee Co, AL)
154.1900 (PL 123.0) – Russell Co, AL Fire North Dispatch
154.3250 (PL 123.0) – Russell Co, AL Fire West Dispatch
453.0750 (PL 151.4) – Phenix City FD 1 (Russell Co, AL)

Central Georgia Interoperable Regional Radio System (P25)
TG 132 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Dispatch 1
TG 134 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 2
TG 135 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 3
TG 136 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Scene 4
TG 151 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Event 1
TG 152 – Macon-Bibb Co FD Event 2

Houston/Peach TRS (P25)
TG 16 – Houston Co FD Dispatch
TG 17 – Houston Co FD FG 1
TG 61 – Warner Robins FD Dispatch
TG 64 – Warner Robins FD Training
TG 65 – Warner Robins FD Talk
TG 91 – Centerville FD Dispatch
TG 121 – Perry FD Dispatch

Muscogee County TRS (P25)
TG 71 – Columbus FD Dispatch

 

Road Trip Report – Savannah to Columbus; 10/11 January 2017

Savannah – I took a two-day trip from Savannah to Columbus on 10/11 January to visit the National Infantry Museum and the National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus as well as the Little White House in Warm Springs. Along the way, I listened to amateur radio, public safety communications, and military communications using my mobile station composed of a Yaesu FT-857D and Uniden Home Patrol 2 along with a Uniden BCD436HP handheld. This trip offered me the opportunity to monitor communications at Fort Benning since it was the first time I’ve been to Columbus since I picked up the MilCom hobby. It was also the first time I’ve had the opportunity to monitor the public safety DMR communications in Laurens County since I added the DMR upgrade to my BCD436HP. I still don’t have a good grasp on DMR and this was my first time listening to it at all so I’m still getting used to slots and colors. Anyway, what I heard is listed below.

 

Amateur Radio
147.390 (CSQ) – KF4DG (Statesboro)
147.330 (PL 77.0) – KD4IEZ, Dublin
147.360 (CSQ) – WA4HZX Dublin
145.110 (CSQ) – WA4ORT, Cochran (Peach State Intertie)
146.670 (PL 82.5) – WR4MG, Warner Robins (Peach State Intertie)
147.300 (PL 107.2) – WR4MG, Warner Robins
443.150 (PL 82.5) – WM4B, Warner Robins
146.850 (CSQ) – WA4ORT, Warner Robins (Peach State Intertie)
146.640 (PL 97.4) – W4VIR, Montezuma (Peach State Intertie)
146.880 (PL 123.0) – W4CVY, Columbus
146.745 (PL 123.0) – W4CVY, Box Springs
441.975 (CSQ) – WB4ULK, Columbus (NOAA WX Alerts)

Jax Center
124.675 – Jekyll Low
126.125 – Statesboro High
126.750 – Brunswick Low
127.575 – Waycross Low
132.425 – Hunter Ultra High
132.925 – Millen/Savannah Low
133.300 – Moultrie Ultra High
135.975 – Alma High
282.200 – Jekyll Low
363.200 – Millen/Savannah Low

Atlanta Center
120.450 – Tiroe Low
120.550 – Montgomery Low
123.950 – Macon Low
125.575 – LaGrange High
125.825 – Hampton Ultra High
125.875 – Martin Lake Ultra High
128.025 – Montgomery High
128.100 – Augusta Low
134.500 – Macon Low
134.950 – West Departure Low
298.850 – Tiroe Low
322.325 – Augusta Low
353.950 – LaGrange High

Columbus Airport
120.100 – Tower
257.800 – Tower

Ft. Benning
125.500 – Atlanta App/Dep
126.550 – Atlanta App/Dep
323.100 – Atlanta App/Dep
119.050 – Lawson AAF Tower
134.100 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
245.700 – Lawson AAF Base Ops
126.200 – Doughboy Advisory
121.050 – Lawson AAF GCA
307.325 – Lawson AAF GCA

Ft. Benning P25 TRS (most TG IDs from RadioReference)
TG 3041 – unknown
TG 3101 – unknown
TG 3132 – unknown
TG 3137 – unknown
TG 3242 – unknown
TG 3253 – Rock Steady
TG 3255 – Bayonet Battalion
TG 3256 – unknown
TG 3257 – Rock Force
TG 3274 – unknown
TG 3330 – Armor/APC training?
TG 3331 – Armor/APC training?
TG 3332 – Armor/APC training?
TG 3389 – unknown
TG 3450 – Fire Department
TG 3453 – Lawson AAF
TG 3458 – unknown
TG 3516 – KINGPIN Transportation
TG 3517 – unknown; seems to be related to TG 3516
TG 3530 – unknown
TG 3537 – unknown
TG 3566 – Range Control?
TG 3567 – Range Control?
TG 3568 – Range Control
TG 3569 – Range Control
TG 3636 – Ammunition
TG 3658 – unknown
TG 3662 – unknown
TG 3668 – unknown
TG 3701 – E-911
TG 3702 – Range Control Life Net
TG 3703 – Range Control
TG 3704 – unknown
TG 15159 – Fire Department Dispatch
TG 15160 – Fire Department Dispatch
TG 15162 – Fire Department Dispatch

Robins AFB
119.600 – Atlanta Tracon
124.200 – Atlanta Tracon
279.600 – Atlanta Tracon

Robins AFB TRS
TG 56012 – unknown
TG 56121 – Robins AFB Base Ops
TG 56122 – Robins AFB Tower
TG 56123 – Robins AFB Crash/Fire
TG 56192 – unknown
TG 56193 – unknown

Bulloch TRS
TG 2416 – Bulloch County FD South Dispatch
TG 2740 – Bulloch County FD Firegound 1

Crawford County
154.1750 (PL 88.5) – Crawford County FD Dispatch

Houston-Peach TRS
TG 16 – Houston County FD Dispatch
TG 17 – Houston County FD Fireground 1
TG 61 – Warner Robins FD Dispatch
TG 91 – Centerville FD Dispatch
TG 121 – Perry FD Dispatch

Laurens County
155.3550 (S1, Color 1) – Laurens County FD Dispatch
154.0700 (PL 186.2) – Laurens County FD Dispatch
154.4000 (S1, Color 1) – Laurens County FD Tac?
154.8225 (S1, Color 1) – Laurens County EMS
154.1150 (S1, Color 1) – unknown (Laurens County)
154.1900 (S1, Color 1) – unknown (Laurens County)
155.0850 (S1, Color 1) – unknown (Laurens County)

Notes:
-Traffic on 154.4000 was tactical traffic ref fire dispatched on 155.355
-Unit on 154.8225 picking up patient at Farview Park Hosp for transport to Macon

Monroe County
154.2200 (PL 88.5) – Monroe County Emergency Services Dispatch

Muscogee County P25 TRS
TG 071 – Columbus Fire & EMS FD Dispatch
TG 073 – Columbus Fire & EMS Tac 1
TG 093 – Columbus Fire & EMS EMS Dispatch
TG 117 – Columbus Public Works
TG 121 – Columbus Public Works
TG 125 – Columbus Public Works
TG 143 – Columbus Public Works
TG 147 – Columbus Public Works

Taylor County
154.265 (PL 156.7) – Taylor County FD Dispatch

Troup County
460.6000 (PL 100.0) – West Point FD Dispatch

Troup County P25 TRS
TG 1040 – LaGrange FD Dispatch
TG 1048 – LaGrange FD Fire Inspectors
TG 1060 – Troup County FD Dispatch

AirEvac
159.6525 (DCS 065) – AirEvac 77, LaGrance
151.7300 (DCS 115) – AirEvac 91, Vidalia
151.9100 (DCS 072) – AirEvac 95, Statesboro
151.8500 (DCS 047) – AirEvac 102, Dublin

Georgia Forestry Commission
159.2250 (PL 179.9) – District 7 Repeater
159.2250 (PL 100.0) – District 10 Repeater
159.2400 (PL 167.9) – District 11 Repeater

Alabama First Responders Network
TG 11717 – Phenix City FD Dispatch (enc)
TG 11722 – Public Works
TG 11724 – Public Works
TG 11726 – Public Works
TG 11728 – Public Works
TG 11816 – unknown (enc)
TG 11828 – unknown

Barbour County, AL
159.4350 (PL 107.2) – Barbour County Fire 1

Lee County, AL
151.1150 (PL 167.9) – Lee County Common
154.0250 (PL 167.9) – Lee County EMS 1
155.1450 (PL 123.0) – Lee County FD East Dispatch
154.4000 (DCS 134) – Auburn FD Dispatch

Russell County, AL
154.1900 (PL 123.0) – Russell County FD Dispatch North
154.3250 (PL 123.0) – Russell County FD Dispatch West

I stayed overnight in Columbus, which gave me an opportunity to do some Ft. Benning listening. I didn’t hear as much as I would have liked to, but I did hear some helicopter traffic: RAVEN flights of H-60s, SABER flights (unknown helicopters), and ARMY 08757 (CH-47F). I also heard CONGO flights of T-1s from NAS Pensacola working the pattern at Lawson AAF. I stayed in the area of I-185 and Macon Rd, so I was close enough to the airport in Columbus to hear the ground side Lawson AAF and Doughboy Control transmitters and Approach/Departure and Atlanta Center transmitters at Columbus Airport.

There is A LOT of activity on the Ft. Benning P25 TRS, much of it unidentified. A good bit of it is related to training and I think it would take better knowledge of their training operations than what I possess to even begin to try to figure out what is what on it. Their public safety may be undergoing some changes because I never heard anything that sounded like MP communications and I heard three talkgroups in use for Fire Department dispatch that aren’t listed on RadioReference.

The National Civil War Naval Museum in Columbus, GA

Columbus – On the second day of my two day visit to Columbus, I visited the National Civil War Naval Museum along the Muscogee River. The museum isn’t nearly as big as the National Infantry Museum I visited the previous day, but it is packed with fascinating artifacts, weapons, gear, memorabilia, and models that tell the story of both the Union and Confederate navies during the Civil War. It has two unique displays: the remains of the ironclad CSS Jackson and the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee. Additionally, it has mock-ups of the ironclad CSS Albemarle, ironclad USS Monitor, and the steam-powered sloop-of-war USS Hartford, which served as Admiral David G. Farragut’s flagship. They also feature a very impressive collection of Civil War flags from ships and forts involved in naval engagements. Outside of the museum is a recreation of the USS/CSS Water Witch, a steam-powered sidewheel gunboat that served with both the US and Confederate navies during the Civil War.

Model of the Confederate States torpedo boat David
Model of the Confederate States torpedo boat David
Model of the CSS Atlanta
Model of the CSS Atlanta
Model of the Confedrate blockade runner Mary Bowers
Model of the Confedrate blockade runner Mary Bowers
Models of the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor
Models of the CSS Virginia and USS Monitor
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection
Various US and Confederate flags in the museums flag collection

The USS Water Witch features prominently at the museum. She began the war in US Navy service, but was captured by Confederate Marines in Ossabaw Sound off of Savannah on 3 June 1864. After her capture, she served with the Confederate Navy as the CSS Water Witch. She remained in the area until 19 December 1864 when she was burned to prevent recapture by approaching Union forces. A recreation of the Water Witch (which is currently closed to tours) is outside the museum and a model of the ship is located in the museum lobby. A Bible from the ship is also displayed with the model. The Water Witch also has a connection with the CSS Jackson, another of the other ships featured in the museum; her Confederate Navy Captain, Lt. W.W. Carnes, was ordered to Columbus to take command of the Jackson.

Recreation of the USS/CSS Water Witch outside of the National Civil War Naval Museum
Recreation of the USS/CSS Water Witch outside of the National Civil War Naval Museum
Model of the USS/CSS Water Witch inside of the museum
Model of the USS/CSS Water Witch inside of the museum
Bible from the USS Water Witch on display along with the model
Bible from the USS Water Witch on display along with the model

Originally built and launched as the CSS Muscogee, the CSS Jackson was an ironclad ram launched late in the war on 22 December 1864. She was built in Columbus with machinery built by the Columbus Naval Iron Works. Delays prevented her from being fitted out and seeing action; she was ultimately burned and sunk during the Battle of Columbus on 16 April 1865. Raised almost a century later, her archaeological remains are now on display at the National Civil War Naval Museum. It was incredible to stand before the ship’s remnants and get an idea of the size and construction of a Civil War ironclad. In the photos below, the white structure above the remains of the hull show what the topside of the Jackson would have looked like.

The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
The remains of the wooden hull of the CSS Jackson, raised from bottom of the Muscogee River 100 years after she was burned and sunk
Cross section of the CSS Jackson's composite armor: 4
Cross section of the CSS Jackson’s composite armor: 4″ of iron on top of 2′ of oak
Section of anchor chain recovered along with the hull remnants of the CSS Jackson
Section of anchor chain recovered along with the hull remnants of the CSS Jackson
This painting made from the only existing photo of the CSS Jackson depicts what the ship would have looked like.
This painting made from the only existing photo of the CSS Jackson depicts what the ship would have looked like.

The remains of the CSS Chattahoochee also feature prominently at the National Civil War Naval Museum. The Chattahoochee was a steam-powered gunboat built in Georgia and served in Florida. After she suffered a boiler explosion in May 1863 she was towed to Columbus for repairs. Later in the war, as Confederate held territory shank, she was scuttled in the Muscogee River in December 1864. Almost 100 years later, her remains were located in Fort Benning and raised. Along with the remains of the hull, the Chattahoochee section of the museum also features a variety of equipment and weapons used by Civil War sailors. It also shows uniforms that would have been worn by both US and CS Navy sailors.

Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chatahoochee
Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee
Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chatahoochee
Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee
Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chatahoochee
Archaeological remnants of the gunboat CSS Chattahoochee
Model of the CSS Chatahoochee showing what she would have looked like during the Civil War
Model of the CSS Chattahoochee showing what she would have looked like during the Civil War
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War Sailors
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War Sailors
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War sailors
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War sailors
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War sailors
Weapons and equipment used by Civil War sailors
Modern recreations of Civil War sailor uniforms; the US and CS navies would have used similar uniforms (the blue US Navy Round Cap is an actual Civil War cap)
Modern recreations of Civil War sailor uniforms; the US and CS navies would have used similar uniforms (the blue US Navy Round Cap is an actual Civil War cap)

The museum features recreations of the turret of the ironclad USS Monitor, the ironclad CSS Albemarle, and US Navy Admiral David G. Farragut’s flagship,the sloop-of-war USS Hartford. You’re able to walk through the recreations of the Albemarle and Hartford, gaining and appreciation for the working and living conditions of Civil War sailors.

Recreation of the ironclad USS Monitor's turret.
Recreation of the ironclad USS Monitor’s turret.
Recreation of the USS Hartford
Recreation of the USS Hartford
Model of the USS Hartford
Model of the USS Hartford
Admiral's cutter (not a recreation!) from the USS Hartford
Admiral’s cutter (not a recreation!) from the USS Hartford
Recreation of the ironclad CSS Albemarle
Recreation of the ironclad CSS Albemarle
Model of the CSS Albermarle
Model of the CSS Albermarle
A look inside the CSS Albemarle
A look inside the CSS Albemarle
Cramped working conditions inside the CSS Albemarle
Cramped working conditions inside the CSS Albemarle

The National Civil War Naval Museum is a terrific museum. It was an extraordinary feeling to stand beside the remains of 150 year old warships. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and think it would be a great visit for anyone with an interest in military, naval, or Civil War History.

The National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning, Georgia

Columbus – Yesterday I visited the National Infantry Museum at Fort Benning in Columbus, GA. I love military history, but I’ve always been more interested in naval military history and the history of air combat so this visit was quite a learning opportunity. The National Infantry Museum tells the story of the US Army Infantry from the Revolutionary War to the present day and includes a section on the history of Armor and Cavalry as well. It also tells the story of Fort Benning, the Rangers, and the Officer Candidate School. Behind the museum is a World War II Company Street  featuring strutures, including a chapel, saved from Fort Benning’s history and relocated to the museum grounds. The museum also features a Walk of Honor and a 3/4 scale replica of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

The first display in the museum is the “Last 100 Yards.” You walk up a 100 yard long ramp that represents the last 100 yards of an infantryman’s fight featuring battles from the Revolutionary War to our present wars in the Middle East. It truly is a magnificent display; you walk through the fight for Redoubt 10 at Yorktown, across the bridge at Antietam, through the World War I Battle of Soissons, through the fight for Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, at the Airborne landing at Corregidor, at Hill 180 for Millett’s bayonet charge during the Korean War, at LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley during Vietnam, and in the midst of a night reconnaissance mission in Iraq. The display uses equipment displays, lights, sounds, and videos projected against the surroundings to put you in each battle. While walking the 100 yards, you not only see what the American infantryman has been through, you learn how he has and warfare have developed over the last 250 years.

Lt. Colonel Alexander Hamilton leads his men against Redoubt 10 at the Revolutionary War Battle of Yorktown
Lt. Colonel Alexander Hamilton leads his men against Redoubt 10 at the Revolutionary War Battle of Yorktown
As you cross the bridge over Antietam Creek you face a Confederate Infantryman
As you cross the bridge over Antietam Creek you face a Confederate Infantryman
The American attack in the World War I Battle of Soissons
The American attack in the World War I Battle of Soissons
Rangers at the bottom of Pointe Du Hoc during the D-Day Invasion at Normandy
Rangers at the bottom of Pointe Du Hoc during the D-Day Invasion at Normandy
The parachute landing during at Corregidor Island in the Philippines during World War II
The parachute landing during at Corregidor Island in the Philippines during World War II
Millett's bayonet charge at Hill 180 during the Korean War
Millett’s bayonet charge at Hill 180 during the Korean War
You walk through the landing at LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley during the Vietnam War
You walk through the landing at LZ X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley during the Vietnam War
Walking through a night reconnaissance mission in Iraq
Walking through a night reconnaissance mission in Iraq

The museum has a huge collection of artifacts, weapons, equipment, vehicles, and memorabilia that covers the history of the US Army from the Revolutionary War to Iraq and Afghanistan. Many are things you just don’t get to see very often.

Porthole from the USS Maine; the Maine's explosion helped spark the Spanish-American War
Porthole from the USS Maine; the Maine’s explosion helped spark the Spanish-American War
Flags, weapons, and artifacts from the Philippine Insurrection
Flags, weapons, and artifacts from the Philippine Insurrection
A World War I Renault FT tank; it was found in a Kabul scrapyard and restored for display in the museum
A World War I Renault FT tank; it was found in a Kabul scrapyard and restored for display in the museum
An M-3 Stuart tank with a horse cavalryman alongside; I thought this an excellent display highlighting the transition from horse Cavalry to Armor
An M-3 Stuart tank with a horse cavalryman alongside; I thought this an excellent display highlighting the transition from horse Cavalry to Armor
An M-113 armored personnel carrier in use during the Vietnam War
An M-113 armored personnel carrier in use during the Vietnam War
The item on the right in this photo is one of Benito Mussolini's epaulets
The item on the right in this photo is one of Benito Mussolini’s epaulets
American flag handmade by US POWs during World War II
American flag handmade by US POWs during World War II
Hermann Goering's Marshal's baton
Hermann Goering’s Marshal’s baton
A bust of Adolf Hitler and a chunk of Hitler's marble table
A bust of Adolf Hitler and a chunk of Hitler’s marble table
Davy Crockett tactical nuclear recoilless gun. Perhaps one of the most insane weapons every devised
Davy Crockett tactical nuclear recoilless gun. Perhaps one of the most insane weapons every devised
Somali flag captured by 3/75 Rangers in Mogadishu; if you've read or watched
Somali flag captured by 3/75 Rangers in Mogadishu; if you’ve read or watched “Blackhawk Down,” you’ll recognize some of the names and callsigns on it
This display recreates a photo taken during the operation in which Saddam Hussein was captured
This display recreates a photo taken during the operation in which Saddam Hussein was captured

Behind the museum is a Walk of Honor that features memorials and monuments placed by and for various US Army Units. The most striking, emotional, and moving is “United in Sacrifice,” commissioned by the 25th Infantry Division Memorial Fund. It features soldiers from different wars of the modern era before the boots, rifle, and helmet of a fallen comrade. The detail and emotions in the facial expressions and postures of the soldiers is incredible. The way a soldier from history reaches out toward a soldier of today is striking. POW/MIA bracelets. dogtags, and flags placed on the rifle by visitors just magnify the impact of the memorial. Another favorite was a memorial to fallen snipers. If you visit the National Infantry Museum, the Walk of Honor is something you should not miss.

United in Sacrifice
United in Sacrifice
Flags, POW/MIA bracelets, and dogtags placed on United in Sacrifice by visitors
Flags, POW/MIA bracelets, and dogtags placed on United in Sacrifice by visitors
The detail and emotion of the soldiers in United in Sacrifice is incredible
The detail and emotion of the soldiers in United in Sacrifice is incredible
A soldier from history reaches out to a soldier of today
A soldier from history reaches out to a soldier of today
Memorial for fallen snipers
Memorial for fallen snipers

The National Infantry Museum is an outstanding museum. There is something for everyone, from someone who knows nothing about military history, who will learn much about the American Infantryman to the military history geek who will enjoy the massive number of displays. It’s worth the visit just for the opening “100 Yards” and it just gets better from there. It doesn’t just tell the story of the US Army Infantry though units and things, it tells the story through the stories of individuals – from the common Infantryman to the General Officers; you learn not just about the Infantry but about men and their deeds and courage. The quantity and quality of the displays and collection reminds me of the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola and it compares favorably to it. For anyone interested in Military History, the National Infantry Museum is a must visit. I spent five hours walking through the exhibits and could have spent many more – I’m thrilled that this was on my choices for this year’s visits.