The World War II Pearl Harbor exhibit is just the beginning of the WWII history housed at the Armed Forces History Museum. After leaving this area, visitors enter into the USMC South Pacific exhibit, which begins with a full-sized, fully-operational 1942 Stuart Tank just outside its entrance.
Once inside this area of the museum, visitors hear the voice of Iwo Jima survivor John Residence as he recounts his experience on the island. As a young 18 year old Marine, John describes being injured on the island but refusing to be evacuated to a nearby ship for medical attention. Instead, John chose to remain with his unit and continue to fight – a fight that would continue for an additional 36 days. John’s heroic measures earned him the Purple Heart. Throughout his time on the island, John not only witnessed the death of many of his fellow Marines, but also witnessed the raising of the United States flag on Mount Suribachi. John lives locally and is periodically on hand to speak with visitors.
The USMC South Pacific also has a number of cases displaying quite a few amazing pieces including WWII USMCWR winter service and utility uniform, Reader’s Digest from that time frame as well as USMC Stationery. Also show cased in this area is a USMC Raider Flag, volcanic rock from Mount Suribachi, a flamethrower, a Corpsman Medic bag, rucksack with bayonet, and M1 Garand Rifle and a 1942 US Machete. Even a pack of Chesterfield cigarettes can be found in one of the display cases reminiscent of an era gone by.
Also in the South Pacific exhibit is a full-size diorama with a young marine steadying himself behind an authentic Howitzer. The two are located inside a make-shift, sand-bag area complete with black sand (such is found on Iwo Jima) and mortar shells. The infamous photograph portraying the flag raising on Mt. Suribachi is one of the many photographs that line this USMC South Pacific room.
Visitors leave the World War II USMC South Pacific Exhibit with a much better sense of the difficulties these young faced and the determination with which they faced it.
Read about the other outstanding exhibits at the Armed Forces History Museum by clicking on the links below:
- Salute to Service Exhibit
- Firearms/Ordnance and Mines/Grenades Exhibit
- World War I Trench Exhibit
- World War II Pearl Harbor Exhibit
- USMC South Pacific Exhibit
- WWII US Navy Exhibit
- WWII Normandy and French Village Exhibit
- WWII German Farmhouse Exhibit
- WWII Communications Room Exhibit
- Korean War Inchon Landing Exhibit
- Korean War MASH Unit Exhibit
- POW/MIA Exhibit
- Rosie’s Bar Exhibit
- Korean War Frozen Chosin Exhibit
- Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Trail Exhibit
- Vietnam Firebase Exhibit
- Saddam Hussein and Gulf War Exhibit
- Additional Exhibits
- Outdoor Exhibits