Submitted by Perry Lundin
Eglin Joint Base Command located near Ft. Walton, Florida, is presently the largest Military Complex in the world and encompasses a large contingent of Air Force units, Naval Warfare units, and the 7th Army Special Forces and 6th Army Rangers.
My home is exactly 5 miles outside the main gate of Eglin AFB. Most folks in the USA don't live in a Military Town, with lots of guys in uniform walking the streets and jets over head daily. They go on with their lives unaware of what a Military Town is all about. And that's OK .... but I want to share with you what it's like to live in a Military Town. We see guys in uniform all the time, we have state of the art, high performance aircraft in the air nearby all day long. We hear the SOUND OF FREEDOM when an F-22, or F-35 streaks over the house ..... and we read in the local paper, some times daily, but at least weekly, of the loss of one of our own in combat in the Middle East. And that is what brings me to the reason for this email.
Staff Sergeant Mark DeAlencar was 37 years old, had a family and was a Green Beret with the 7th Army Special Forces stationed here in the Fort Walton area. He was killed on April 8, 2017 while fighting Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. In January of this year, he was deployed for the second time to Afghanistan. He promised his adopted daughter, Octavia, that he would be home for her High School Graduation. He didn't make it. But she went to graduation anyway. And in the audience were eighty (80) US 7th Army Special Forces soldiers from her dad’s unit in full Parade Dress Uniform. Additionally, they brought THEIR FAMILIES to be with them, as well.
As Octavia ascended the steps to the stage to receive her diploma THEY ALL SILENTLY STOOD UP. And when she was presented her diploma they ALL CHEERED, CLAPPED , WHISTLED .... and YES CRIED. Everyone in attendance then stood up and cried and cheered. Octavia had graduated and yes she had lost her Dad .... but she had 80 other DADS to stand there with her and take his place.
I just wanted to share this moment with you ..... and remind you that THIS IS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO LIVE IN A MILITARY TOWN. THIS is the real America we all love ..... and I'm proud to be part of it. May God bless our men and women in uniform and their families who give so much.
(Take a second to pass this along to someone you know. It's the least we can do for Octavia and SSgt Mark DeAlencar, 7th Special Forces, United States Army.)
Submitted by Perry Lundin
Remember that ending scene out of Indiana Jones where the Ark of the Covenant is boxed up and wheeled through an endless government warehouse?
Did you know that that place actually exists?
It is called the Center of Military History.
It is located 30 minutes outside Washington, D.C., at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. The building itself is very nondescript…
…but behind a series of highly alarmed doors…
…and long, cement, camera-laden hallways…
…is the highly sophisticated, climate-controlled treasure room where the Army keeps its most precious artifacts.
The facility was built for $24 million in 2010.
The cavernous warehouse is typically shrouded in total darkness. Motion lights illuminate only the areas in which someone is walking.
Behind these giant doors lie the Army’s historic collection of weaponry.
The room consists of dozens of collapsable “hallways” filled with the richest American firearm collection on the planet.
The collection is stacked with priceless items.
One-of-a-kind boat gun that pre-dates the
The entire collection can be moved at the press of a button…
…to create new endless hallways of historic firearms.
Entire lineages of weapons are kept here for research as well as preservation purposes.
Another portion of the warehouse consists of endless rows of gigantic airtight lockers. This is called “3D storage.”
Every meaningful artifact that has been worn on a military battlefield is stored here. Including Gen. Ulysses Grant’s Civil War cap.
Famous generals’ uniforms and Revolutionary War powder satchels…
…flags, canteens, and cannons.
And the rows go on and on and on and on…
But the crown jewel of the collection is the 16,000 pieces of fine art the Army owns.
The art is kept on giant rolling metal frames.
The massive collection consists of donated and commissioned pieces. Much of the art was painted by soldiers who experienced their subjects in real life.
During World War I, the Army began commissioning artists to deploy into the war zone and paint the scenes they observed. This practice has continued to this day. Much of the museum’s collection consists of these commissioned wartime pieces. The collection also keeps hold of valuable donated military art and historical pieces dating back to the Mexican American War.
The art tells the story of America’s wars through a soldier’s unique perspective.
Some works are just beautiful beyond words.
“Softball Game in Hyde Park” by Floyd Davis.
Every aspect of war is captured in the collection.
The collection also includes original Army propaganda art.
Including beautiful Norman Rockwell originals that the Army commissioned in the 1940s. Original Rockwells like these regularly fetch tens of millions of dollars at auction.
Virtually every American conflict is represented from a first-hand soldier’s perspective.
Humanitarian aid missions to the conflicts of the 1980s:
PEACE AND WAR
The “War on Terror.”
The soldier’s perspective…
The collection also has a controversial side that has never been displayed. Unique art and artifacts that were seized from the Nazis after World War II are stored here, including watercolors painted by Hitler himself.
The painting below was filmed at the center for the 2006 documentary The Rape of Europa.
At the age of 18, Adolf Hitler applied to the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna but was rejected. A number of Hitler’s paintings were seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II and found a home at the center. None of the confiscated Nazi art has ever been displayed, and the curators thought them too controversial for this piece.
Not a single piece in this massive collection is open to the public. Why is it kept under lock and key in a blackened warehouse?
Simple answer: Because there is no museum to house it.
The entire collection could be made accessible to the public, if the funds for a museum could be raised. The Army Historical Foundation is in charge of raising the funds for the museum via armyhistory.org
However, there are major fundraising hurdles to jump before the museum can be built. The foundation’s president recently told The Washington Post that it has raised $76 million of the $175 million required for the museum and predicts the museum could open in 2018. The plan is to build the museum at Fort Belvoir.
But until then…