FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 21, 2013) -- Military and civilian developers began the first phase of construction for the site of the future Armor and Cavalry museum on Fort Benning.
The Pattons' Park project will provide a continuation of artifacts displayed at the Armor and Cavalry Gallery in the National Infantry Museum, said retired Lt. Col. Phil Linn, treasurer for the National Armor and Cavalry Heritage Foundation.
The foundation's mission is to create a 100,000-square-foot museum on land adjacent to the NIM located on Benning Boulevard. Linn said the site will be the Army's largest museum complex when completed.
"We train our Armor Soldiers about the customs and traditions of the branch through the history and vehicles," Linn said. "The decision was made that we would not only bring the Armor School here, but the vehicles as well."
Pattons' Park, named for World War II Gen. George S. Patton and his son, Maj. Gen. George S. Patton IV, will exhibit nine tanks and other armored vehicles from World War II up to Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom, as well as three Vietnam-era rotary wing aircraft. Linn said the vehicles should be available for public viewing by next spring.
The park will include a 1,000-foot trail that extends through a wooded area, a parking lot and the visitor's center located in the median of Benning Boulevard that will provide a layout of the park and direct visitors back to the NIM gallery. The foundation relies solely on funds from private donors for any construction of the site and the museum, Linn said.
Pattons' Park will be temporary and dismantled upon construction of the museum in phase 2, which Linn said is expected to be complete by 2018.
"In building Pattons' Park, it shows our supporters what we're doing with their contributions and it compliments what they have in Gallery 1," Linn said. "What they have in pictures in the museum, we will actually have here."
Linn said the Directorate of Public Works and Soldiers from 7th Battalion, 18th Engineer Company have assisted by constructing the trail, parking area and creating foundations for the vehicles.
Sgt. 1st Class Paul Cheney, NCOIC for the 7-18th Engineer Co., led a team of nine Soldiers through 10 days of construction earlier this month. Cheney said the results have been impressive in such a small amount of time.
"It's a nice trail through the woods, and these guys have been out here working some amazing hours to get things done," Cheney said. "I'm impressed with the way civilians and military have worked together to do this."
For more information, visit www.armorcavalrymuseum.org.