Train SetAs visitors first enter the Armed Forces History Museum, the first exhibit they view is the esteemed Salute to Service.  Though the uniforms are definitely the main focus in this exhibit, the miniature train set in the center of this gallery undoubtedly commands attention.  With over 1,000 man hours involved in this handmade, painted and assembled display, this incredibly detailed train diorama depicts a Marine camp complete with a machine shop, Quonset huts, vehicles, tanks, etc.  Look closely among the hand painted trees and you’ll discover some wild life.  Individuals and families are enjoying a variety of activities throughout this diorama.

 

Aside from the train set, the Salute to Service Exhibit has over two dozen dress uniforms representing all branches of the service.  Listed below are just a few of these outstanding uniforms on display at the museum:

 

  • Salute to ServiceCurrent US Navy Seal dress choker uniform with headgear, insignia and service decorations
  • Uniforms of Leonard T. Schroeder, Jr. (first man to step foot on Normandy Beach) including his Formal Evening Attire, Class A Service and Dress Blue, American Red Cross Uniforms
  • US Army Major General (2-Star) Blue Mess with headgear, service decorations and awards
  • 1879 USMC Brigadier General Uniform – this is the only uniform that is not authentic.  Due to the delicate nature of the original, the museum had a seamstress create a duplicate of this nearly 150 year old uniform.

 

The collection in this area is not limited, however, to uniforms.  The walls showcase several popular WWII posters, US Army Garrison hats from 1940-1945, US Army Women Garrison hats, US Navy headgear from 1938 to present day, two shadow boxes with a wide array of challenge coins and various sabres and swords.  Many other personal items round out the collection in the Salute to Service Exhibit.

Firearms and Ordnance

Firearms and Ordnance WSAfter the Salute to Service Gallery, visitors are given a rare opportunity to view some impressive, authentic firearms, ordnance, mines and grenades.  The items shown span throughout history and go well beyond those used by the United States military.  The items in this room are too numerous to mention individually, but a few highlights include:

 

  • Bren Light Machine Gun
  • WWII Parachute Aerial Bomb
  • Advanced Heavy Anti-Tank Missile System
  • A number of WWI Aerial Bombs
  • Israeli Uzi 9mm submachine gun
  • Model 1897 11mm German Mauser Chileno
  • WWII Japanese Training Rifle 7.7mm
  • Several variants of the infamous M1 Garand .30 cal
  • US Model 1903 Springfield
  • M47 Dragon Medium Anti-Tank Weapon System
  • M20-75mm Recoilless Rifle
  • M2HB Machine Gun
  • A number of US, European and Japanese Bayonets

 

The oldest bayonet is not the one from WWI, or even the Confederate or Union Civil War Bayonets.  The oldest bayonet on display at the Armed Forces History Museum, incredibly enough, dates back to the Revolutionary War.

 

Mines and Grenades-

Mines and GrenadesAnd if the Firearms and Ordnance Exhibit isn’t enough firepower for you, the Mines and Grenades Exhibit has an array of items on display which add to the overall effect of this impressive collection of arsenal.  A few of the many items viewed in this room include the following:

 

  • WWII Japanese Mines and Grenades Training Kit for US Troops
  • M9 Anti-Tank Mine
  • A wide variety of land mines – both US as well as a number of other countries
  • WWII British Sticky Bomb
  • Several WWI French Grenades
  • A number of USSR Mines and Grenades
  • “Bouncing Betty” Mine
  • US Smoke Grenades and Hand Grenades

 

Visitors are overwhelmingly impressed with these first three exhibits at the Armed Forces History Museum, but what they don’t realize is their journey into the past is just beginning.

Read about the other outstanding exhibits at the Armed Forces History Museum by clicking on the links below: