open: Tue.-Sun. 10am-4pm
tel: 512-782-5659

Museum Reopens

Camp Mabry and the Texas Military Forces Museum are now open with new rules in place. These rules MUST be followed by everyone wishing to visit the museum.

Museum Rules

  • Mask Required at All Times for adults and children 3 or older. (Please bring your own mask, but if you forget we have some for sale!) You will be asked to show your masks to the security guards at the gate.
  • Everyone Entering the Museum Must Allow Staff to Check Their Temperature
  • Maintain Social Distance Between Groups
  • Please Don’t Touch Exhibits, Cases or Rails
  • Use Museum-provided Pencils to Push Buttons or Engage Interactive Exhibits
  • One Person from Each Group Must Sign the Visitor Log and Provide a Phone Number of Email at Which We Can Contact You if We Discover Someone with Coivd-19 Visited the Museum While You Were Here.
  • The Museum Will Only Use Your Contact Information for the Above Purpose and Will Destroy Your Information Two Weeks After Your Visit.

If You Have a Medical Reason for Not Wearing a Mask Please Contact Us Before Your Visit so that We Can Make Special Arrangements

The museum will be operating at a reduced capacity to ensure the health and safety of our visitors and staff.

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A Pioneering Aircraft: Bringing Brains and Brawn Together in the F-86 D

A Pioneering Aircraft:

Bringing Brains and Brawn Together in the F-86 D

By Christopher Paulos, MA

One of the less well known, but most pioneering in design of the aircraft preserved at Camp Mabry, in Austin, Texas, is the North American F-86D “Sabre Dog.” While the aircraft saw service for only a brief time and never entered combat, it represented a leap forward in the evolution of military aircraft.

The prototype first took to the air on December 22, 1949. By 1953, the aircraft was serving in interceptor squadrons of Air Defense Command.

On November 19, 1952, Captain James S. Nash broke the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Absolute Speed Record by flying 12 kilometers at an average speed of 1,124 kilometers per hour (698.5 mph). Another F-86 had set the previous record of 670.8 miles per hour.

So, what was behind this pioneering jet aircraft’s record-breaking speed? The General Electric J47-GE-17 turbojet engine used on the earliest Sabre Dogs could produce around 5,450 pounds-force of thrust. By the end of the production run, the improved -33 version was fitted to provide 5,550 pounds. The use of afterburner increased the thrust generated by about a third.

By way of contrast, the model used in the older F-86A aircraft generated only 5,000 pounds “dry” and lacked an afterburner. While the engine was powerful, it was also troublesome. Thirteen Sabre Dogs were lost to engine fires between September and December 1953.

Despite sharing its name with the Sabres that fought in Korea, the F-86D was essentially a new aircraft, sharing only about 25 percent of its components with the older models. It had been briefly given the designation, F-95, before being redesignated to make the expensive project an easier sell.

New designs of Soviet jet and turboprop bombers such as the Tupolev Tu-16 and Tu-95 would fly faster than the piston-powered bombers of World War II, so a burst of cannon fire aimed manually through an optical sight or primitive radar screen was no longer considered a viable method of attack. What was needed was a new approach to fighting these kinds of threats.

The sole armament of the Sabre Dog was the Mk 4 Folding Fin Aerial Rocket, often called the “Mighty Mouse” of which 24 were carried in a retractable tray. Each rocket was 1.2 meters long and 70 millimeters across. Upon launch, four fins folded out from the rear of the rocket to stabilize it in flight. This new weaponry was bold and pioneering in concept, but hitting a target at high-speed was still a challenge.

Prior to the Sabre Dog all U.S. Air Force fighters equipped with radar required a second crewman to operate the finicky equipment. The Sabre Dog dispensed with the radar operator by automation.

The key to this accomplishment was the Hughes E-4 Fire Control System. Previous systems required the pilot to fly a pursuit course, which would eventually place the fighter to the rear of the target bomber. This exposed the fighter to return fire from the bomber’s rear turret. The E-4 could compute a “lead collision” course whereby the pilot attacked the target from ahead and to the side.

The APG-36 radar could track a target up to thirty miles away. Once a target was locked on, symbols appeared on the radar screen to provide guidance to the pilot. A dot indicated the course calculated to bring the aircraft to the best position to fire on the target. A small circle appeared at the center of the screen. When the steering dot was at the center of the circle, the aircraft was on the correct course. An outer “time-to-go” circle indicated the time until firing, shrinking as the aircraft got closer to the calculated point of intercept.

While the pilot concentrated on the aircraft radar screen, he still needed to fly the plane. This was accomplished by using an artificial horizon provided along with the steering cues, another innovation over previous aircraft. With four seconds to go until firing, the pilot was prompted to arm the rockets.

The AN/APA-84 computer fired the rockets automatically at the precise moment calculated to have the best chance of a hit. The rockets could be fired in salvoes of 6, 12, or 24, which would, in theory allow the aircraft to down four bombers in a single mission. The rockets tended to spread out after firing so a larger salvo greatly increased the chance of destroying a bomber.

The F86 D at Camp Mabry bears the serial number 52-3770. It first served with the 63rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron (FIS) at Wurtsmith Air Force Base, then the 85th FIS at Scott AFB until July 1957. In November of that year it was assigned to the 181st FIS, one of three squadrons of the Texas National Guard to operate the type. This aircraft was retired from service in 1960.

Today, the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry in Austin, Texas is home to a display of the F-86 D “Sabre Dog” welcoming visitors throughout the year.


Aeronautical Systems Division, Air Force Systems Command, 1961. Development Of Airborne Armament 1910-1961 Volume III: Fighter Fire Control.

Department of the Air Force, 1953. AN 01-60JLC-1 Flight Handbook USAF Series F-86D Aircraft.

Department of the Air Force, 1961. T.O. 1F-86L-1 Flight Handbook USAF Series F-86L Aircraft.

Goebel, G., 2017. [1.0] F-86A Through F-86D. [online] Airvectors.net. Available at: <http://www.airvectors.net/avf86_1.html#m7> [Accessed 11 June 2020].

Historical Division, Office of Information, HQ Air Defense Command, n.d. History Of Air Defense Weapons 1946-1962.

Mcchordairmuseum.org. n.d. Mcchord Air Museum – F-86 Sabre Dog  (52-3669) From The 317Th FIS,325Th FW – Mcchord’s First Jet Aircrraft. [online] Available at: <https://www.mcchordairmuseum.org/REV%20B%20MAM%20COLLECTION%20F-86%20BORDER.htm> [Accessed 14 June 2020].

Wildenberg, T., 2008. A Visionary Ahead of His Time: Howard Hughes and the U.S. Air Force – Part III: The Falcon Missile and Airborne Fire Control. Air Power History, [online] 55(2). Available at: <https://www.jstor.org/stable/26274982> [Accessed 14 June 2020].

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36th Infantry Division WWII Database

At the end of WWII the 36th Infantry Division compiled a roster of the names of the men who served with the Division during the war. These cards made their way to Camp Mabry, in Austin after the war and in the following years 1946-1950 other cards were added to include those men who had been part of the 36th Division (Texas National Guard) when it was brought into United States service in 1940.

The museum began adding scans and information from the over 50,000 cards to a database. This database is part of an interactive which our visitors can view when they visit the museum. The process is very time consuming and only about 12,000 cards have currently been added.

The searchable interactive is not available online yet, however you can search through the cards which have been entered so far in a basic way, but only by name or state at this time.

First got to https://36th-id.frb.io/ The page will look like the image below. You want to click on “View Infantry Table”

The names will be in alphabetical order, as mentioned there are currently over 12,000 entries, so you can sort by last name or state:

But the easiest thing to do would be to search by last name using the “find” feature on your computer [control f] or using your computer drop down menu. In the example below I’ve used the last name of English. It returned 14 possibilities.

Once you’ve found a name you want to look at click on the “view details” on the far right side of the database list.

This will bring up the page for that specific soldier:

Then if you click on the file card, it will come up larger on a screen by itself:

Currently all of letters A,B,D,E,X,Y,Z are done, letter C,G,L and W have some entries. This post will be updated as more letters are completed. If you have questions about the database, want to report a spelling error, or request more information please email us at txmilmuseum@gmail.com

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WWI Diary of Samuel H. Fields

Samuel Fields served with the Headquarters Company of the 143rd Infantry Regiment during WWI. He was given a diary in September 1918 and wrote information about his service during WWI. Much of the diary entries are in past tense, written after the events actually happened. They include descriptions of Camp Bowie, travel to NY, ship overseas, arrival and training in France, combat in October 1918, training and occupation from November 1918 to May 1919, and return voyage home to Texas.The diary runs for 63 pages. Scans can be found in the Gallery below.

Diary video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lY-NfKESuQ

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Finding WWII Map Coordinates

It is possible to use a site I call the coordinates translator to find WWII map coordinates in Europe on a modern map. It takes a bit of work, but it can be a very useful tool: http://www.echodelta.net/mbs/eng-translator.php

You need to know which of the maps to look at, there are 9 options on the page: British Cassini, Irish Cassini, Nord de Guerre, French Lambert Zone 1, French Lambert Zone 2, French Lambert Zone 3, Italian Northern Grid, Italian Southern, Scandinavian Zone 3 and if you don’t have the 2 letter code in front of the numbers then you have to make an educated guess.

For example, attached is a page from the S3 journal for the 141st Inf Regt. for December 10-11, 1944. It has many map coordinates, we will take the first one -683493- which is for Company C. There is no letter code but the name of a town, Sigolahiem is mentioned further down so we can use that to help get us in the general area so we can choose the correct map.

S-3 Journal 141st Infantry Regiment December 10-11, 1944

If you google Sigolahiem and bring it up on a modern map, you can look for where it is in relation to one of the 3 French maps on the coordinator site. After looking at all 3 maps, we see that the Map- French Lambert Zone 2 – is the best choice and section “WK” seems to be closet. It takes some practice to be able to look at the modern map and figure out which of the grid maps on the site is the correct one.

Modern map of Sigloahiem

Once you have determined the correct map and 2 letter code you can type in the information, in this case WK683493, into the coordinates translator box and it converts it to a modern map . Often this takes trial and error, sometimes you choose the wrong 2 letter code, it helps to have a general idea of where the coordinates are located, a nearby town, river etc…

location of WWII map coordinate WK 683493

You can then zoom in, switch to satellite view if I want and get very close image of the exact location, in this case the location of Company C, 141st Infantry Regiment on December 10-11 1944

zoomed in location of WWII map point WK 683493

This will work for 4 digit codes as well, but you will always need to know the 2 letter code, plus which map to get the correct location.

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Morning Reports:

When the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis caught fire in 1973 the destruction of 80% of all Army and Army Air Corps personnel records from 1912-1964 was a huge blow. People looking to research their relatives service are left with few resources to try and find details of service.

One of the items which can help reconstruct WWII era service is the Morning Report. In this blog post we explain what a Morning Report is and how to read it.

Company K, 142nd Infantry Regiment September 9, 1943

The Morning Report is the daily record of a unit. It includes soldiers by name and service number and includes information about anything which effects the individual soldiers of the unit. This includes being wounded or missing, being ill, going AWOL, being promoted or demoted in rank and being added or transferred away from the unit.

In the example above dated September 9, 1943 from Company K, 142nd Infantry Regiment we have 2 officers who were on duty (dy) and have been sent to the hospital (hosp) because they were severely injured (SW) in the line of duty (LD). Then there are 3 soldiers who were Killed in Action( a Staff Sgt and 2 privates). Next we have Private 1st Class Moore who went from duty to the hospital wounded in the line of duty severely with shrapnel on his right side. Finally we have PFC Johnson who had a severe gunshot wound to his nose.

Company C, 143rd Infantry Regiment, September 18, 1944

In this example from Company C, 143rd Infantry on September 18, 1944 we have a little bit different information. At the top there is PFC Adam Badabaugh, we also have his MOS or service classification in this case 745 which is a Rifleman. So PFC Badabaugh was assigned(asgd) to duty and joined (jd) as a Rifleman (745) to Company C.He had been transferred from Headquarters, 1st Battalion as of September 5, 1944. The other names on the card were all assigned and joined the unit as Rifleman from a replacement center as of September 18, 1944.

111th Medical Battalion Report for Company C, 143rd Infantry Regiment for August 25, 1944, page 1

There also can be documents from the Medical unit included in the reports. In this example from August 25, 1944 PFC Bob Puff has been sent to the hospital with a gunshot wound (GSW) which penetrated his left leg and PFC Swezey has a shell fragment wound ( SFW) which hit both his right arm and left shoulder. Lastly PFC Kelly took a gunshot wound to the left angle and thigh. The document also includes information on which evacuation hospital they were sent to.

Company C, 143rd Infantry Regiment December 25, 1944

There are also overview reports on the unit as a whole, this one from Christmas Day, 1944 shows that Company C, 143rd is located at grid coordinates WW0394, near Strasbourg, France and that on December 24th Company C was attacking enemy positions and took one enemy prisoner.

Company C 143rd Infantry Regiment August 1944

This list from early August includes information about which landing craft the unit was on and brief information about what they did each day.

The museum unfortunately does not have copies of Morning Reports. We have just a few example which 36th Division family members have shared with us. Morning Reports can be found at the St. Louis location of the National Archvies. https://www.archives.gov/personnel-records-center/military-personnel/morning-reports-and-unit-rosters-access You can go and copy them yourself or pay a researcher to do it for you. Reports are available for many units and time periods.

This site has a very helpful list of abbreviations which are commonly found on Morning Reports : http://103divwwii.usm.edu/assets/mr-abbreviations.pdf and this site: https://militaryyearbookproject.com/references/old-mos-codes/wwii-era/army-wwii-codes/army-mos-codes-wwii-era has WWII MOS codes.

If you have any comments or questions please email us at txmilmuseum@gmail.com

Colonel Oran Stovall
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Close Assault 1968

Our Close Assault program this spring will honor our nation’s Vietnam Veterans… many of whom joined the Guard after their regular Army service.

Remember the true meaning of Memorial Day with this back at the Vietnam War. Close Assault 1968 honors the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans. The free program features members of the Texas Military Forces Living History Detachment exhibiting the uniform and equipment worn by the American soldiers. In addition, the two-day event will provide guests the opportunity to witness firing demonstrations and watch an assault on a bunker with an M113.

The event will take place RAIN or SHINE. Bleacher seating is available. Showtimes are at 11 am and 2 pm each day. The program runs for about 1.5 hours. The museum will be open 10-4 each day. Both the program and admission to the museum are FREE.

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Museum Renovation

September 20 update: The museum front door is again open for business!

August 26 update: work is largely complete but a few small items are keeping us from being able to reopen the main doors. Currently we are looking at mid September. We will keep you updated.

July 16 update: We are still on track for having main doors back open soon.

We are in the home stretch. New doors went into today, June 25, 2019. We hope to be substantially complete in about 1 month.

New front door with canopy and lights
New Front Door
Looking out from new front doors

This month the museum has begun much anticipated renovations. The updates will include new loading docks, changes to the museum offices, new entrances and exits for the Hall of Honor and a brand new main entrance door.

This construction is scheduled to go on through the end of June although we hope that the bulk of it will be done by April.

During Construction the old main door is closed. The means that all visitors will have to come through the far North door of the building. see images below.

We apologize for the inconvenience and at some times the work will be very loud. We are doing our best to have as little impact as possible on the visitors. We will remain open during the entire process and cannot wait to show off all the wonderful changes which will not only improve the look of the museum but will provide much need health and safety updates.

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Veteran’s Day

Although the museum is normally closed on Monday’s, we will be OPEN from 10 am to 4 pm on Monday November 11th for Veterans Day.

Help us honor all our veteran’s on this important day.

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Museum Store Sunday

The Texas Military Forces Museum will be one of 10 museum stores in Austin taking part in Museum Store Sunday on November 25, 2018. We will be offering 25% off everything in our gift shop on the 25th. You  can be entered in a prize drawing if you purchase items at 3 or more stores. See below for more details.

Press Release

November 1, 2018 – Austin, TX – The Austin Museum Store Collective has announced the local museums that will participate in the second annual Museum Store Sunday on Sunday, November 25.  Timed to the start of the holiday shopping season, Museum Store Sunday is a one-day event featuring special discounts, promotions, and giveaways at participating museum stores and gift shops.

More than 700 Museum Stores representing museums and cultural institutions in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, ten countries, and three continents will offer sales and discounts as part of this year’s event, including these popular local destinations:

  • Blanton Museum of Art* (200 E Martin Luther King Jr Blvd, Austin, TX 78712)
  • Bullock Texas State History Museum* (1800 Congress Ave, Austin, TX 78701)
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center* (4801 La Crosse Ave, Austin, TX 78739)
  • LBJ Presidential Library* (2313 Red River St, Austin, TX 78705)
  • National Museum of the Pacific War (340 E Main St, Fredericksburg, TX 78624)
  • Science Mill (101 South Lady Bird Lane, Johnson City, TX, 78636)
  • Texas Capitol Gift Shop* (1400 N. Congress Ave or 112 E. 11th Street, Austin, TX 78701)
  • Texas Historical Commission* (220 2nd Street, San Felipe, TX 77473)
  • Texas Military Forces Museum* (2200 W 35th St Building 6, Austin, TX 78703)
  • Thinkery* (1830 Simond Ave., Austin, TX 78723)

To celebrate Museum Store Sunday, several local venues will be offering 25% storewide discounts all day, with additional promotions and “flash” sales throughout. Patrons can review a complete list of sales and special offers at MuseumStoreSundayATX.com.

Visitors can also pick up a free Passport Card. Shoppers who get the passport stamped at three or more participating gift shops between now and Museum Store Sunday will be entered in a random drawing for an Austin museum prize package, valued at over $200, that includes free museum memberships and assorted merchandise.

“Museum Store Sunday gives people a chance to support local businesses, support the community through local non-profit museums, find unique holiday gifts, and enjoy an entertaining and educational experience at their favorite museums, all at the same time,” said Thinkery store manager Vanessa Smith. “We’re very pleased to partner with so many other wonderful local destinations to make this a fun and worthy option for Austin holiday shoppers and families.”

Holiday shoppers will find quality gifts filled with inspiration and educational value and, through their purchases, directly support their favorite museums.  Proceeds from purchases at museum stores support the missions and programming of those museums, and foster appreciation and knowledge of art, nature, culture, science, and history throughout our community.

Full details of the sales and discounts available locally can be found at MuseumStoreSundayATX.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/298321630764097/.  Shoppers are encouraged to share their favorite discoveries on social media using the hashtags #MuseumStoreSunday and #BeAPatron.


For more information, please contact Blair Newberry at (512) 721-0259 or blair@lbjfoundation.org.

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