It took nearly 20 years from going from a dream into becoming a reality, but in the year 2000, the doors opened for the Airborne and Special Operations Museum.
The museum tells the comprehensive story of how the United States Army's test platoon's first parachute jumps were made in 1940, to the present day operations of the Airborne and the Special Operations Teams in place like Iraq and Afghanistan.
"This museum takes you thru that entire history, we don't get involved in the weeds of politics, we don't get into the weeds of specific units, because when we highlight one unit, we make another unit mad, this is all about the airborne and the special operations units and what they have done," said Paul Galloway, Executive Director of the Airborne and Special Operations Museum Foundation.
The museum's five story high open lobby features two fully deployed parachutes, indicating the origin of the Airborne forces.
The main gallery moves visitors thru time, in chronological order, starting with the conception of the parachute test team and formation of the special operations forces, including the Green Berets.
World War II saw the most concentrated use of airborne operations. On display is a replica of part of a French village from the Normandy invasion of June, 1944. The museum transports the visitor to war torn occupied France, and then takes you into the Pacific-Asian theatre of operations.
Following Japan's surrender in 1945, the Cold War began, and it signaled the Army's increased training of men in the Airborne and Special Operations areas, especially in the early 1950s in Korea.
In the mid 1960s, airborne and special ops troops went to the Dominican Republic, to set up a peacekeeping force - and it was not long after that when special ops forces went to Southeast Asia and the conflict in Vietnam.
And since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, the United States has been involved in many peacekeeping and contingency operations, including in places like Grenada and Panama, to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Today, the museum is owned and operated by the United States Army and is considered to be part of Fort Bragg. And thru displays and videos, visitors get the chance to see the soldiers that started and continue to be part of the special operations team, from 1940 to present time.
"The legend continues here, come see us," said Galloway.
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