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    National Infantry MuseumNational Infantry Museum South Columbus, Georgia
    The National Infantry Museum in South Columbus, Georgia is located just outside Fort Benning, the home of the infantry, with the museum honoring the history of infantry forces in the US Army, with large 190,000 square foot structure that would cost $107 million to construct, and the initial two displays were the OCS School Hall of Honor and the Ranger Hall of Honor with the rest of the exhibits being showcased during the grand opening in 2009. Its signature exhibit is called the "Last Hundred Yards" and has scenes from the eight wars that the US infantry has taken part in and features life size figures cast from actual soldiers. There is a marvelous IMAX theater and restaurant called the Fife and Drum. The museum houses a memorial to soldiers that have been given three Combat Infantryman Badges (CIB) during their careers, and met the basic and specific requirements necessary to receive this honored award. These include; being an infantryman that satisfactorily does his duties, be assigned to an infantry unit during a time when the unit is engaged in active ground combat and the soldier actively takes part in the ground combat. This award has been a prized award of the infantry since it was authorized in 1943, and is the most prestigious award an infantryman can achieve, next to the Medal of Honor. Army regs do provide for a fourth award's possibility, but the army has almost made it impossible to get but to get more than two is very hard according to Lt. Col. Albert N. Garland in his 1996 article, The Combat Infantryman Badge. Maj. Gen. David E. Grange, Jr., who was the commanding officer at Benning between 1979 and 1981 was such a person that earned the third badge and understood more than most, the rare achievement that the badge was and believed that a list of those that acquired the badge should be compiled to celebrate these great infantrymen. At his urging, the fort started to collect the names of known 3rd CIB recipients, and by 1983, had collected and set to bronze the names of 230 men that received this momentous honor and unveiled a memorial to them, with another 79 that have been added since then.

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    Woodruff Museum of Civil War Naval HistoryWoodruff Museum of Civil War Naval History Columbus, Georgia
    The National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, in Columbus, Georgia occupies a 40,000 square foot structure that showcases two original American Civil War military vessels, weapons, uniforms and equipment that had been used by the Confederate and Union navies, and the only museum in the nation that describes these two navies in the Civil War. The museum opened in 1962 as the James W. Woodruff, Jr. Confederate Naval Museum, named after the man who would financially support the museum's construction, and in 2001, it would move to a new $8 million facility with a new name to reflect the many new displays that depict the Union and Confederate navies. The main feature is the 180 foot hull of the CSS Muscogee that was also called the CSS Jackson, one of the ironclad rams that had been put to fire in the Chattahoochee River by the troops of Union general James H. Wilson, and had been recovered in the 1960s from the river's bed. Also shown is the remains of the CSS Chattahoochee and a rowboat from the USS Hartford that is still intact. The USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, two replicas of warships, although the Virginia is copied from the USS Merrimack, it would be used with the other in the Turner Broadcasting film, Ironclads, and other recreated full scale sections of three other Civil War era warships that are part of the huge collection that sits in this awesome museum. The theater is used to show a battle experience that puts visitors in the midst of a Civil War battle and interactive Confederate ironclad ship simulator that offers visitors an excellent opportunity to experience 19th century naval combat first hand. There is a magnificent Civil War flag exhibit that is the museum's newest display, and according to its director, Bruce Smith, it is the biggest exhibit of naval related flags from the war that is available anywhere. There are fourteen flags that represent ships and forts from the complete scope of the war that are showcased in this new display that is titled, "Ramparts to Topmast: Flags of Triumph and Despair".

April 18, 2011