Trip to National Museum of the Marine Corps, 15 Jan 2007
Contributor: Bryan Hiatt
In January 2007, ww2db.com contributor Bryan Hiatt visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia. Here's the report of his visit.
The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in November 2006. Situated less than a half mile from the gate of the Quantico Marine Corps base, the museum delivers much more than I'd hoped to see or experienced in other area museums in the DC area. There are hanging aircraft in the Leatherneck gallery, tanks, landing craft, static displays, video displays, and miles and miles of photos and text detailing in exquisite form the history of the Marine Corps.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the museum is its size. The Leatherneck gallery is indeed cavernous, and there visitors will find the hanging aircraft, among them two World II era Corsairs, and two life-size recreations of famous events in the Corps' history: the first landing of Marines by helicopter in Korea, and of the beach landings at Tarawa. Unlike other museums which only give text, picture, and occasional video, the museum puts the Marines "in action" to bring that moment of history to life. Among the notable recreations (which are far from cheap looking wax museum dummies) is the "Defense of Wake Island," "Close Air Support in WW II," "The Chosin Reservoir," and "Disembarking from a chopper in Vietnam." There are many others.
The museum also houses "the pair of original American flags raised by the Marines on Mount Suribachi on 23 February 1945. The attack transport Missoula donated the smaller flag, raised by the Schrier Patrol on the summit. Landing Ship Tank (LST) 779, then unloading at Green Beach, donated the larger flag, raised later in the day and portrayed in the famed Joe Rosenthal's photograph. Frayed by strong winds, the second flag flew from Suribachi for the balance of the battle for Iwo Jima." During my visit, the larger flag was on display, and the museum rotates exhibiting these treasures to reduce exposure of these priceless historical artifacts. A young Lance Corporal was there, too, ready to answer any questions.
The exhibits in the museum itself are sectioned off by the major events in US history, including World War II. Visitors will also find an art gallery showcasing a variety of talented Marine artists working in various forms as well as a section devoted to more recent actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Admission and parking is free.
Last Major Update: Jan 2007
Trip to National Museum of the Marine Corps, 15 Jan 2007 Interactive Map
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James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, 23 Feb 1945