Knox armor artifacts begin move to Benning

By Ms. Kellie Etheridge (IMCOM)February 15, 2010

More Armor Vehicles at Patton Museum
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT KNOX, Ky. - The Patton Museum collection of armored vehicles and armor-connected artifacts have begun being moved from here to Fort Benning, Ga., along with the Armor School.

Patton Museum director Len Dyer explained that the museum, which has been a fixture on Fort Knox for 60 years, is the property of the Army, and that itAca,!a,,cs officially known as the Armor Museum, dedicated in honor of Gen. George S. Patton Jr.

Bu itAca,!a,,cs more than just a museum he stressed; itAca,!a,,cs a classroom.

Dyer believes that the true value of the museum is the support it provides for training Soldiers.

Aca,!A"This museum not only tells history, lineage, capabilities, and limitations to Soldiers who are going through training here, but we are also part of that research and development program that the Army uses,Aca,!A? he explained. Aca,!A"We have lessons learned on armored warfare going back almost 100 years.

Aca,!A"If you take the Armor Center and Armor School and think of it as a college class Aca,!" a chemistry class, for example Aca,!" this is the laboratoryAca,!A|this is where they come and learn about the vehicles,Aca,!A? he added.

Aca,!A"Going down to Benning is just a PCS move as far as that goes," Dyer said. "The bottom line is weAca,!a,,cve been directed by the Center of Military History, which manages and controls the collection, that there will only be oneAca,!A|Armor Museum and from the (Training and Doctrine Command) perspective it stays with the (Armor) School,Aca,!A? said Dyer.

The Armor Museum will have a new facility built at Fort Benning, which will be located near the new National Infantry Museum. The new name will be the National Armor and Cavalry Museum. The new facility, once built, will contain three times more exhibit space. There are 50 vehicles on display at the Patton Museum, but the Armor and Cavalry Museum will easily hold 150 displays.

Aca,!A"Once the Armor Museum and the Infantry Museum are up and running (Infantry did a grand opening in June) they will jointly form one of the largest military museum complexes in the world,Aca,!A? said Dyer.

Although the ground for the new facility hasnAca,!a,,ct even been broken Aca,!" the move still must go forward, according to BRAC guidelines. And the museum will receive assistance with the move from Fort KnoxAca,!a,,cs 233rd Transportation Company.

The 233rd have started transporting museum vehicles from the Fort Knox Richardson Motor Pool and will continue doing so on a weekly basis. The armor vehicles will be moved to Fort Benning via heavy equipment transport Aca,!" or via convoy on highways and interstates.

The benefits of using the 233rd includes the Soldiers gaining hands-on experience when transporting the heavy equipment, as well as saving money for the American taxpayer in the form of transportation costs, the most expensive part of the move, explained Dyer.

According to 2nd Lt. Sean Chang with 233rd Operations, there will be roughly six-to-eight convoys heading to Fort Benning, moving between 9-13 pieces of museum equipment. Each convoy will take about nine days to move the pieces to Benning.

Aca,!A"The interstates and highways are a little tricky because of the size and weight of our HETs,Aca,!A? said Chang. Aca,!A"The main issue we have to deal with when taking these roads is obtaining convoy clearances from each state we are passing through. As for the drivers, all of them are licensed and will go through extra training for dealing with CONUS interstate driving.

Aca,!A"While we are not going to be running into IEDs and enemy combatants, (we) will be driving through traffic and dealing with the possibility of vehicle breakdown,Aca,!A? he added.

The largest vehicle in the collection, the T28, has already been removed from the grounds around the Patton Museum and taken to a maintenance facility to prepare it for transfer to Benning. The KY MATES, KentuckyAca,!a,,cs National Guard Maintenance Facility, will help make sure all the vehicles are prepped for shipping.

Two hundred-eighty macro artifacts Aca,!" tanks; anti-tank guns; vehicles; and items weighing 1,000 pounds and above or 75mm and above Aca,!" are in the collection, with 230 going to Georgia. Twenty of those vehicles will be used as monument pieces around BenningAca,!a,,cs Harmony Church, the new Armor School area. Fort Knox will not begin losing its monument pieces, which can be found around Headquarters and other buildings on post until after the annual May Armor Warfighting Conference.

The museum will remain open until after Labor Day to take advantage of summer visitation.

Aca,!A"After that point, the rest of the monument pieces that have not gone, and the core collection Aca,!" displays at the museum Aca,!" will then be going down to Fort Benning,Aca,!A? said Dyer. Aca,!A"They will go into storage facilities until the new museum is built.Aca,!A?

However, out of the 280 armor artifacts, there will be 48 left on Fort Knox to continue the armor legacy and tell its story. These pieces will remain at the gates, key intersections, the traffic circle and even some of the vehicles outside the museum will stay. As for the monumental gardens on the museum grounds, Dyer explained that a course of action for all the monuments has not been decided upon yet.

The Patton Museum will not close. After Sept. 7, the armor element of the museum will be cordoned off to visitors. Access to the Patton collection, Abrams auditorium, and the gift shop will still be available, Dyer explained.

Christopher Kolakowski will then become museum director, with the Patton Museum becoming The General George Patton Museum.

The new museum will become the classroom for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Accessions Command, Cadet Command, and for the units on post. It will focus on aspects of leadership, including styles, techniques, and traits from leaders throughout the ArmyAca,!a,,cs 234-year history.

Kolakowski is still in the planning process for the new museum.

Aca,!A"ThereAca,!a,,cs still going to be an armor and cavalry section of the story here, but the focus is going to be broader,Aca,!A? he explained.

Since the museum will have a broader focus, Kolakowski intends to put Patton into context and show his impact on training and recruiting for the transforming Army. Visitors to the museum will also learn about PattonAca,!a,,cs contemporaries and protAfAgAfAs.

PattonAca,!a,,cs grandson, James Patton Totten, who also serves on the Patton Museum Foundation Board, supports the move of the armor collection and is excited about the changes happening to the museum on Fort Knox.

Aca,!A"We get to expand our scope,Aca,!A? said Totten. Aca,!A"(The museum) will be embracing the concept of audacious leadership, which spreads across the whole spectrum of leadership. We aim to make it one of the best (museums) in the country.Aca,!A?

Kolakowski is fully aware of the monumental task that awaits him in less than seven months.

Aca,!A"In terms of visitation, this is the busiest Army museum worldwide. ItAca,!a,,cs also in the top 10 in terms of visitation and tourist sites in the commonwealth and we understand the responsibility that that conveys,Aca,!A? he said.

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