In January, the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum closed in order to conduct a complete inventory. The Museum announced that once it reopened it would fall under the U.S. Army Special Operations Command and expand to include all of the ARSOF Regiments. Therefore it would also include Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations.
Let the rumors and speculation fly. The Museum expressed the following:
“[The] rich heritage of Special Forces will continue to be showcased throughout the command; however, instead of only having access to the history in one building, it will be available to our Soldiers, students, retirees and families throughout the command footprint. Rest assured, the history and legacy of the Green Berets are alive and well and will continue to be shared and honored for generations to come.”
However, it looks as though the Museum may never open again. USASOC Public Affairs published an article in late April that stated, “U.S. Army Special Operations Command is leveraging technology to improve connections and accessibility to better inform and educate a wider audience about Army Special Operations Forces history.” Leverage technology? What does that mean?
The article says that the Museum is partnering with the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum (ASOM) so that everyone, including the public, can experience a rich history. This obviously does not sit well for many old-timers.
There are no current plans for the transfer of the Special Warfare Museum’s items to other museums or organizations. The History Office will retain and preserve artifacts that support hands-on historical presentations, while the ASOM will fulfill the need for a physical facility that assists in telling the ARSOF story.
The ASOM webpage boasts that for nearly 20 years, the U.S. Army Airborne & Special Operations Museum has told the stories of those who have fought valiantly to protect the liberty we hold most dear. The Museum has preserved and honored the legendary feats of our Airborne and Special Operations Soldiers.
Another example of a similar closing was that of the old Green Beret Club which was turned into the Smoke Bomb Grill. In the process, a great amount of history was lost to physical access for the public and was digitized. While currently the place still has somewhat of a Green Beret theme, many were left unhappy with the change. Given the location of the Grill, it made sense to cater to the units that were next to it. These changes have increased its sales significantly.
Before we all run for our pitchforks, there is a small exhibit still left on Fort Bragg. They moved just down the street to the intersection of Merill St. and Ardennes St. near the SWC Dinning Facility and the SWC Barracks. Are you out of town and still want swag? The museum’s store is still up and running physically. You can also order online at the JFK Webstore, yet it is unknown for how long that site will remain open.
The John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Museum was established in 1963. The Museum was the brainchild of Major General William P. Yarborough.