Fort Stewart’s 3rd ID Museum ready to reopen
HINESVILLE, Ga. (WTOC) - After 15 months of a COVID shutdown, a museum exploring the Coastal Empire’s rich military history is finally ready to reopen.
“My curator and I are tired of looking each other, we’d like someone else to look at,” Third Infantry Division Museum Director James Atwater said.
The museum is located at Fort Stewart and opening to anyone who has access to the base. Atwater has spent most of the last year taking stock of the items in the museum.
“We fall underneath what’s known as the Center of Military History and they decided, since we were closed to the public, to do complete inventories,” Atwater said. “Plus we were doing cleaning of exhibits, changing some exhibits around.”
The museum tells the story of the U.S. Army’s Third Infantry Division, known as the ‘Rock of the Marne.’ The name goes back to World War I. It features uniforms and weaponry of the 3rd ID, including present day vehicles to the guns fired in France more than 100 years ago.
“Most people think we were issued with American equipment that’s actually not true,” Atwater said. “A lot of British and French equipment were actually issued to American forces.”
The 3rd ID was the only division of the U.S. Army to fight the Nazis on all fronts in World War II. The museum details the division’s journey from Africa to Austria. It even dispels one popular narrative.
“Because of the show ‘Band of Brothers,’ everyone assumes it was the 101 (101st Airborne) that took Berchtesgaden,” Atwater said. “It was not. It was actually 3rd ID. The 101 was just sent up there after 3rd ID was told to move forward.”
Perhaps the most impressive artifacts in the museum are some of the newest.
“They’re the ones who seized Saddam’s palaces and they pulled out gold weapons, which we have on display,” Atwater said. “We actually have a nice sized collection of various weapons.”
While the 3rd ID gallery is the largest, the 14,000 square foot museum also focuses on the local military history that started with Camp Stewart in 1941.
“The museum also has galleries first for the history of the post, as well as the airfields, that surrounded with post, basically Hunter Army Airfield, Wright Field and a couple others,” Atwater said.
If you’re interested in touring the museum, to find out more you can contact Fort Stewart communications at 912-435-9874 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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