31 August 2010

Museum Lays Out the Red Bull Carpet

The sudden sounds of machine gun fire so close to my position was, to put it mildly, a little alarming. Here I was, after all, thinking I'd found a cool and quiet spot to spend my lunch hour. I turned a dark corner, and found myself walking along the depths of a World War I trench. Another corner, and then another, and I found myself in No Man's Land.

Being downrange of a machine gun just feels wrong, even if it's being crewed by dummies. And, by "dummies," of course, I mean mannequins.

The Mississippi Armed Forces Museum located on Camp Shelby, Miss., is a 26,000-square-foot building featuring multimedia depictions of military life, equipment, and history. The museum recently laid out the proverbial red carpet for the Red Bull: A banner featuring the unit patch currently flies over the museum's entrance.

The museum is well worth a few hours' visit, although parents should prepare younger children for the occasional loud noise and other surprises driven by motion sensors. There are machine gun noises, and a tank that comes at you with its headlights. Upon entering a ship's bridge, klaxons sound while planes dive past the portholes. It's not quite "interactive," but it all is certainly is fun and educational.

More than 100,000 U.S. soldiers (and a few thousand Canadians) have mobilized through Camp Shelby since June 2004, including in the 2005 deployment to Iraq of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (B.C.T.), 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Division (1-34 BCT). Two battalion-sized elements from that 2005 are here with the 2-34 BCT, preparing for Afghanistan. These are: Iowa's 1st "Ironman" Battalion, 133rd Infantry Regiment (1-133 Infantry), and Nebraska's 1st Squadron, 134th Cavalry (1-134 Cavalry).

A variety of ground and air vehicles are displayed on the grounds surrounding the museum, as well as stone monuments to units that have ties to Camp Shelby. One of those units is the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (R.C.T.)--a celebrated unit of Japanese-Americans who fought in World War II Italy as part of the 34th "Red Bull" Division.

The Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby, Miss., (near Hattiesburg on Highway 49) is open Tuesdays-Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays. It is closed Sundays, Mondays, and state and federal holidays. It is, however, open on Memorial Day, Independence Day (July 4th), and Veteran's Day.


  1. http://www.armedforcesmuseum.us/Pages/Main.html

  2. @ Anonymous: Thanks for the assist! I added the link to the post, and also clarified that the proper name for the museum is the MISSISSIPPI Armed Forces Museum.

    Thanks again, and thanks for reading Red Bull Rising!


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