”With the arrival of a new year, part of a new command vision will soon take place in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) footprint. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command initiated a plan to reinvigorate the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum”

Whenever a command issues a statement like that, most experienced people cringe because they know what follows isn’t going to be good news. And it wasn’t. The U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) is closing the Special Warfare Museum located at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This latest maneuver by USASOC has touched a nerve within the Special Forces community. Actually it has plain pissed them off — and with good reason. 

The Special Warfare Museum was treasured by the SF community because it was the only place that featured the history of the Special Forces groups, Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations, and above all the O.S.S. where the SF lineage originated from. The tiny but packed museum was located on Ardennes Street, on Fort Bragg, smack in the middle of the SF area, and adjacent to the Green Beret statue, Bronze Bruce. 

The reason for the closure has been hazy, to say the least. First USASOC said it was for inventory. However, nothing had been done with the Special Warfare Museum or gift shop with input from either the Museum Association or the Special Forces Association. But that shouldn’t be a surprise: several years ago, without a peep, USASOC moved the statue of Bronze Bruce in the middle of the night to where it now stands. 

So, back at the end of January, the USASOC Public Affairs Office (PAO) released a statement saying that the U.S. Army JFK Special Warfare Museum would become the Army Special Operations Forces Musuem. The plan was to “reinvigorate” the Museum. They’d temporarily close it to identify and catalog items. The museum, they said, would open back up in February 2020. The new ARSOF museum would expand to include other USASOC units, notably the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment based at Fort Campbell and the 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning.

In the published piece USASOC wrote: “The idea of the reorganization is to take ownership of ARSOF’s proud history and to get artifacts into the hands of Soldiers by intellectually engaging students and Soldiers in areas where they congregate. It is intended to keep artifacts on display engaging, relevant, and fresh.” Apparently, in USASOC, “reinvigorate”, “relevant and fresh” means closure.

On April 24, 2020, USASOC then published “ARSOF History: Embracing the Future” which implies that the museum does not and will not ever exist. It states that “USASOC will preserve ARSOF history by leveraging technology through virtual historical exhibits and graphic displays to make ARSOF history more accessible to everyone.” Virtual? Like a website? For the Special Warfare Museum. Ouch. Then it says that the command will work with the Airborne and Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville to display some exhibits.

When news of this first hit, Special Forces troops, past and present were rightfully ticked off. They felt like their lineage and history were being flushed down the drain. But calmer heads prevailed. A very well respected member of the Regiment, Chris Zets, has been in talks with the USASOC History Office. He’s kept everyone abreast of the situation and everyone has been forwarding his findings.